Article ID: CBB327867560

A World Laboratory: Framing the Albert National Park (July 2017)


The Albert National Park in Belgian Congo was founded in 1925 on the initiative of a small but well-connected transnational network of naturalists, diplomats, and royals. Throughout the park’s existence, this network discursively framed it as a place of scientific research and international collaboration, thus linking it with values of universalism and inclusiveness. The rhetoric of the park as a “world laboratory” facilitated the access of a global network of biologists and legitimized scientific management schemes to protect its so-called primitive character. While opened up to international scholars, the park was also closed off from unwanted human and nonhuman actors including the local population, tourists, and invasive species. After Congo’s independence in 1960, the founding network lost its direct control over the country’s national parks. But in the new geopolitical situation, the old rhetoric of universalism and internationalism was also useful to preserve its continued influence on the management of Congolese nature.

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Authors & Contributors
Selcer, Perrin
Casado de Otaola, Santos
Hoppe, Brigitte
Štrbáňová, Soňa
Robin, Nicolas
Rothman, Hal K.
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Current Anthropology
Chinese Journal for the History of Science and Technology
Historical Records of Australian Science
Environment and History
Enseñanza de las Ciencias de la Tierra
Oxford University Press
Rutgers University Press
University of Toronto Press
Ohio University Press
George F. Thompson Publishing
National parks and reserves
International cooperation
Environmental sciences
Wildlife conservation
Research institutes; research stations
Pink, Olive Muriel
Hediger, Heini
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
21st century
20th century, late
18th century
United States
Soviet Union
Kruger National Park (South Africa)
Joshua Tree National Park
IIT Madras
United Nations
United States. National Park Service

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