A cosmopolitical commons? The role of fétiches in Kawawana, an Indigenous/Community Conserved Area (ICCA) in Casamance, Senegal

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Geographical Sciences


This study proposes to examine the role of fétiches (or, 'spirit-shrines') in an Indigenous/community conserved area (ICCA) in Casamance, Senegal, called 'Kawawana'. Framing Kawawana as a 'cosmopolitical commons', this study will explore what the mobilisation of these 'other-than-human' beings might mean within the context of local Jola ethnic and cultural identities, as well as for conservation scholarship more broadly. Ultimately, I want to explore how the presence of fétiches in Kawawana might contest colonial-modern assumptions about 'nature' and subsequent conservation policy and practice. This project will be guided by two key questions:

1. What is the wider role and significance of Kawawana - both as a conservation project, and within the context of Jola ethnic and cultural identity?

2. In what ways does the mobilisation of fétiches in Kawawana indicate a 'cosmopolitical commons'?

This project will be conducted in collaboration with the ICCA Consortium, an international association of which Kawawana is part, whose work involves promoting and connecting ICCAs and similar initiatives at local, national and regional levels. I already have an established relationship with the ICCA Consortium, who have also put me in contact with a co-founder of Kawawana.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2573111 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2024 George Smith