Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Sustainability and Equity, University of California / Berkeley

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Development Sociology, Cornell University
Sweet Deal, Bitter Landscapes: Gender and the New Enclosures in Coastal Tanzania

The first decade of the 21st century has seen a significant increase in large-scale land deals in developing countries. Sparked by the food and fuel crises of 2007/8, a wide range of investors from sovereign wealth funds to private investors to national governments have rushed to acquire land to produce and secure access to agricultural commodities. The lion's share of the so-called "new enclosures," or the "global land grab," is concentrated on Africa. In Tanzania, the state is playing a key role in promoting large-scale land deals through what are popularly called public-private partnerships (PPPs). My dissertation analyses from a critical gender perspective a recent land deal for industrial sugarcane production in Bagamoyo District, Coast (Pwani) Region of Tanzania. This land deal, also known as Bagamoyo EcoEnergy (BEE) Sugar Project, is a joint venture PPP between the Tanzanian government and a Swedish company, in which the former has agreed to lease 20,374 hectares of public land to the latter for 99 years in exchange for 25 percent equity share in the investment. This type of deal has no similar historical precedent in the country, let alone in the East African region. While the deal was announced as early as in 2006, the actual implementation of the project remains at a standstill. This is because the project requires the forcible eviction of over 1,400 people who have been living and subsisting on the land for many years, even generations. My dissertation research examines how conflicting land claims and fragmented authorities are produced during this interstitial moment, and how rural women and men experience and adapt to living with uncertainty.