Placing Nature(s) on Safari

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Department 1



This essay examines the use of automobile technologies--like the road, vehicle and map--in the creation of place and nature on safari in Tanzania. Unlike destination-based tourism, safari, by definition, implies perpetual mobility. This historically layered process of continuous movement across and through specific landscapes defines the safari as a unique travel experience. Taking travel as performative and processual, this study investigates the role of various technologies of travel in the emplacement, erasure, traversal, and categorization of place on safari; the creation of a topology of safari places and natures by and for visitors; and local Maasai challenges to much of this place- and nature-making. This results in an “imbrication” of place, of the local and the official, of the deep and the superficial, such that the placing of safari spaces comes to be seen as a deeply dialectical, multisensory process involving multiple actors.

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