African Design Magazine April 2016 - Page 81

Reviews BOOK REVIEW Cultural Landscape Heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa S ub-Saharan Africa is one of the longest occupied and least studied landscapes on earth. While scholarship has been attentive to images of nature made by the region’s explorers and settlers and to landscapes of the colonial era – public parks and game reserves, botanical gardens and urban plans – surprisingly little attention has been paid to spaces created by and for Africans themselves, from the precolonial era to the present. This book is a contribution to a small but growing effort to address this oversight. Its essays present a range of landscapes: pathways and cairns used by nomadic people to navigate through and mark significant places; anthropogenic or managed forests consecrated to ritual purposes of various kinds; tombs or palaces with significant landscape orientations and components; even monumental ceremonial and urban spaces, as at Great Zimbabwe or Djenne. AUTHOR: John Beardsley PAPERBACK: 452 pages PUBLISHER: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (March 14, 2016) ISBN: 978-0884024101 They explore what we know of precolonial and later indigenous designed landscapes, how these landscapes were understood in the CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE colonial era, and how they are being recuperated today for nation building, identity formation, and cultural affirmation. Contributors engage with the most critical issues in preservation today, from the conflicts between cultural heritage and biodiversity protection, to the competition between local and international heritage agendas. africandesignmagazine.com 81