Offered in 2012


Hunting and Wildlife Conservation in Kenya (Seminar)

With its abundant wildlife, well-provisioned safari lodges and camps, and expert guides, Kenya has long been considered a sportsman's paradise. How did this East African colony (now a republic) gain this reputation?

We will answer this question by looking at the history of African and European hunters who brought two traditions of hunting to this world and created the romantic and much-imitated hunting safari, which attracted big-game hunters from around the world. Kenya continues to bring millions of tourists on safari, even now that killing wildlife has been banned.

This seminar will survey the story of hunting, poaching, conservation, and the creation of Kenya's national parks as we seek to understand the cultural and social history of this sportsman's paradise.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Section Sessions Dates Time Campus Instructor(s) Cost Registration
6 - Tue
Sep 4–Oct 9
12:30–2:20 pm Van Ed Steinhart
$104 Register

You may take this course as part of the following program:

What will I learn?

Week 1: African Hunters at the Dawn of Colonization, 1895–1914

In this first session, we will consider various African hunting practices, including subsistence hunting by so-called pure hunter foragers, herders, and farmers, as well as the hunting of elephants for ivory. We will discuss the role of hunting in African cultural and gender values as well as diet and economy.

Week 2: European Settlers and Aristocratic Hunters, 1895–1914

European settlers began arriving in Kenya at the beginning of the 20th century, bringing a long history of hunting forged by European class prejudices. We will consider the aristocratic hunting practices endangered “at home” as settlers adapted to Kenyan realities and bent African practices to their ideals.

Week 3: The Invention and Evolution of the Hunting Safari, 1909–1939

The safari, a new hunting synthesis, emerged from contact between African, Arab, and European ideas. A corps of Professional White Hunters was a salutary moment in creating Kenya's tourist industry, and the portrait of the “great white hunter” made the “champagne safari” the pinnacle of luxury and excitement.

Week 4: The Gardeners of Eden: Early Gamekeeping, 1900–1939

Early in its colonial history, Kenya established a game department to regulate and encourage sports hunting, with African hunters ipso facto poachers. By the 1920s, the department was promoting the economically important activities of a growing number of sports hunters. Conservation was a distant third among its responsibilities.

Week 5: Conservation and the Making of National Parks, 1933–1963

The 1930s saw a change in wildlife management in Kenya and internationally. The National Parks movement aimed to preserve wildlife rather than conserve game animals for hunting. International air travel saw the safari transformed by clients with a new sensibility about animals.

Week 6: The End of the Game and the Preservationist Idea, 1963–2010

International pressure on Kenya ensured policies that were favourable to conservation, but land scarcity and hostility to sanctuaries that excluded subsistence hunting led to conflict. By 1976, Kenya outlawed hunting to postpone “the end of the game.” The ban’s effects are disputed, and the future of Africa is still in question.

How will I learn?

  • Discussion
  • Required reading
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

Who should take this course?

This course is for anyone who enjoys participating in class discussions and is interested in learning about the history, politics, and development of conservation practices in Kenya.

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Textbooks and learning materials

The following required book will be available for purchase at the Seniors Program office (suite 2300 at 515 W. Hastings St.):

Black Poachers, White Hunters: A Social History of Hunting in Colonial Kenya by Edward I. Steinhart, (James Currey Publishers, 2006). ISBN 9780-852-559604

Additional course materials may be available in class or online.