New Terra Nullius Narratives and the Gentrification of Africa's "Empty Lands"

Charles Geisler
2012 Journal of World-Systems Research  
Extraterritorial ownership and control of sub-Saharan African land have a long and troubledhistory. This research investigates a much-studied practice the recent enclosure of African landand resources but asks a little-studied question: how are non-Africans reasserting terra nulliusnarratives of the past to justify the present transformation of African landscapes? The answersuggested here lies in a bulwark of de facto terra nullius claims couched in security needs of theglobal North and
more » ... ed to the low density of Africa s rural population, its land and laborunder-utilization, the ambiguity of its land tenure and related low yields, and its arrested civilization. De facto terra nullius is neither narrow in scope nor static in application. It isstirring again as a potent justificatory logic for north-south land relations.
doi:10.5195/jwsr.2012.484 fatcat:ozrjet5ngjhjhkkyi7eipkzlpq