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Dr Pauline von Hellermann

Staff details

PositionLecturer
Department Anthropology
Email p.vonhellermann (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7919 7803
Dr Pauline von Hellermann

Pauline von Hellermann researches landscapes and politics in Africa. Combining historical and political ecology perspectives, she has worked on forest governance and corruption in Southern Nigeria and on landscape change in the Tanzanian Pare Mountains, and is currently starting new work on water conflict at Lake Naivasha in Kenya. Her research interests also include youth and patrons, science policy processes, mining, and multi-sited ethnography.

She is the co-editor, with Simon Coleman, of "Multi-sited Ethnography. Problems and Possibilities in the Translocation of Research Methods" (Routledge, 2011). She read History at Edinburgh and Development Studies at Oxford, and completed a DPhil in Social Anthropology at Sussex University in 2005. She held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Sussex and a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at York University (as part of the HEEAL - Historical Ecologies of East African Landscapes - Research Group) before joining Goldsmiths College in 2011

Teaching

Dr Pauline Von Hellerman covenes the MA in Applied Anthropology, Community and Youth Work.

She teaches the following courses:

  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Anthropology and the Environment
  • Environmental Anthropology

Areas of supervision

I am keen to supervise research projects in political and historical ecology, particularly on resource governance and conflict as well as on landcsape change and environmental perceptions, and particularly in West and East Africa.

Currently supervising

  • William Wheeler

 

Research Interests

Forest resource governance and politics in Southern Nigeria, past and present

Combining ethnographic with archival research, my forthcoming monograph ("Things Fall Apart? The Political Ecology of Forest Governance in Southern Nigeria", Berghahn) unpacks standard narratives linking deforestation in Southern Nigeria to the collapse of ‘proper’ forest management in recent decades. It does so by examining the nature and effectiveness of scientific forest management in earlier parts of the century, by situating this in the longer term ecological and political history of the area, and by presenting an ethnographic investigation of current practices in one local context, the Okomu Reserve and its surroundings.

On the basis of my long-standing ethnographic engagement in Edo State, I subsequently carried out new research on an unfolding political crisis in Udo town and the involvement of a nearby, expatriate oil palm plantation. This work focuses on local resource and chieftaincy politics, exploring in particular the manifestations of patrimonial power and resistance to this in the form of ‘youth’ politics. I also conducted new archival research on questions arising out of my previous project: the contradictory relations between colonial forest knowledge and policy practices, and the role of colonial reservation policy in local land politics.

Landscape histories, perceptions and policies in East Africa

My research for the HEEAL project at York University complemented the work of my archaeologist colleagues. I conducted ethnographic, archival and photographic research into land use practices, conservation policy and landscape change in the Pare Mountains in Northeastern Tanzania.

This research pursued several lines of enquiry: (1) the nature and causes of landscape change over the course of the 20th century, focusing in particular on the legacies of colonial and post-colonial conservation and tree-planting measures; (2) the intersection of local environmental values and legal frameworks with regard to land management practices and forest ecology, with comparative perspectives on sacred groves, communal forests and government reserves; and (3) memory and perceptions of landscape change. 

The political ecology of colonial natural resource use patterns and environmental knowledge at Lake Naivasha, Kenya

This research forms part of the larger collaborative and inter-disciplinary project "Resilience, Collapse and Reorganisation in Social-Ecological Systems of East- and South Africa’s Savannahs", funded by the German Research Foundation and led by the Institute of Ethnology at the University of Cologne, 2010-12 (coordinated by Professor Michael Bollig).

My project examines, firstly, how highly unequal power relations between settlers and squatters at Lake Naivasha shaped water and land use patterns from the 1920s onwards; secondly, how these in turn affected the Naivasha wetlands ecology and the vegetation and soil of surrounding areas; thirdly, what environmental and political disputes and discussions were evoked at the time; and fourthly, how these developments in the colonial period shape the politics and ecology of Lake Naivasha today.

Publications

Book

Things Fall Apart? The Political Ecology of Forest Governance in Southern Nigeria.
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2013. Things Fall Apart? The Political Ecology of Forest Governance in Southern Nigeria. Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-0-85745-989-3

Edited Book

Multi-sited Ethnography. Problems and Possibilities in the Translocation of Research Methods
von Hellermann, Pauline and Coleman, Simon, eds. 2013. Multi-sited Ethnography. Problems and Possibilities in the Translocation of Research Methods. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415849012

Book Section

Introduction
von Hellermann, Pauline and Coleman, Simon. 2013. Introduction. In: Pauline von Hellermann and Simon Coleman, eds. Multi-sited Ethnography. Problems and Possibilities in the Translocation of Research Methods. London: Routledge, pp. 1-15. ISBN 978-0415849012

‘The owner of the land: the Benin Obas and colonial forest reservation’
von Hellermann, Pauline and Usuanlele, Uyilawa. 2012. ‘The owner of the land: the Benin Obas and colonial forest reservation’. In: Saheed Aderinto and Paul Osifodunrin, eds. The Third Wave of Historical Scholarship on Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Ayodeji Olukoju. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 154-182. ISBN 978-1443839945

‘Reading farm and forest: colonial forest knowledge and policy in Southern Nigeria’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2011. ‘Reading farm and forest: colonial forest knowledge and policy in Southern Nigeria’. In: Ricardo Roque and Kim Wagner, eds. Engaging Colonial Knowledge: Reading European Archives in World History. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 89-114. ISBN 978-0230241985

‘Was Benin a forest kingdom? Reconstructing landscapes in Southern Nigeria’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2010. ‘Was Benin a forest kingdom? Reconstructing landscapes in Southern Nigeria’. In: Philip Alsworth-Jones, ed. West African Archaeology, New Developments, New Perspectives. British Archaeological Reports, pp. 93-102. ISBN 978-1407307084

‘Scott, James’, and ‘Botkin, Daniel’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2007. ‘Scott, James’, and ‘Botkin, Daniel’. In: Paul Robbins, ed. The Encyclopedia of Environment and Society. Sage. ISBN 978-1412927611

Article

On the Frontline: Travelling the Line, British Commuters and Southern Rail
von Hellermann, Pauline and Webb, Martin. 2017. On the Frontline: Travelling the Line, British Commuters and Southern Rail. Discover Society(43),

Tree Symbolism and Conservation in the South Pare Mountains, Tanzania
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2017. Tree Symbolism and Conservation in the South Pare Mountains, Tanzania. Conservation and Society, 14(4), pp. 368-379. ISSN 0972-4923

Review of ‘All Our Yesterdays: Memories of a forester in Nigeria, 1950–1962 and An Earthly Paradise: Memories of a forester in the Bechuanaland Protectorate/ Botswana, 1963– 1968’, by P. W. T. Henry
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2013. Review of ‘All Our Yesterdays: Memories of a forester in Nigeria, 1950–1962 and An Earthly Paradise: Memories of a forester in the Bechuanaland Protectorate/ Botswana, 1963– 1968’, by P. W. T. Henry. African Affairs, 112(449), pp. 696-697. ISSN ISSN 0001-9909

Review of ‘Landscape, Process and Power. Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge’, edited by Serena Heckler
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2011. Review of ‘Landscape, Process and Power. Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge’, edited by Serena Heckler. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 17(4), pp. 893-894. ISSN 1359-0987

Review of ‘Governing Africa's Forests in a Globalized World’. Edited by Laura A. German, Alain Karsenty and Anne-Marie Tiani
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2011. Review of ‘Governing Africa's Forests in a Globalized World’. Edited by Laura A. German, Alain Karsenty and Anne-Marie Tiani. Journal of Biosocial Science, 43(2), pp. 253-254. ISSN 0021-9320

The chief, the youth and the plantation: communal politics in southern Nigeria
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2010. The chief, the youth and the plantation: communal politics in southern Nigeria. Journal of Modern African Studies, 48(2), pp. 259-283. ISSN 0022-278X

Review of Hughes, David M. ‘From Enslavement to Environmentalism. Politics on a Southern African frontier’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2010. Review of Hughes, David M. ‘From Enslavement to Environmentalism. Politics on a Southern African frontier’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16(3), pp. 657-658. ISSN 1359-0987

Review of M. Sheridan & C. Nyamweru (eds.) ‘African Sacred Groves: ecological dynamics & social change’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2009. Review of M. Sheridan & C. Nyamweru (eds.) ‘African Sacred Groves: ecological dynamics & social change’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 15(2), pp. 428-429. ISSN 1359-0987

‘The owner of the land: the Benin Obas and colonial forest reservation’
von Hellermann, Pauline and Usuanlele, Uyilawa. 2009. ‘The owner of the land: the Benin Obas and colonial forest reservation’. Journal of African History, 50(2), pp. 223-246. ISSN 0021-8537

‘Things fall apart? Management, environment and Taungya farming in Edo State, Southern Nigeria’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2007. ‘Things fall apart? Management, environment and Taungya farming in Edo State, Southern Nigeria’. Africa, 77(3), pp. 371-392. ISSN 0001-9720

Review of K. Homewood (ed.) ‘Rural Resources and Local Livelihoods in Africa’
von Hellermann, Pauline. 2006. Review of K. Homewood (ed.) ‘Rural Resources and Local Livelihoods in Africa’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 12(2), p. 476. ISSN 1359-0987