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
Wildish, David
Jacob S. T. Dlamini
Dilsaver, Lary M.
Colwell, Mary
Enseñanza de las Ciencias de la Tierra
Technikgeschichte: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie
Medical History
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Journal of the History of Biology
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Lion Books
George F. Thompson Publishing
University of Toronto Press
University of California Press
Rutgers University Press
Oxford University Press
National parks and reserves
Environmental sciences
Wildlife conservation
International cooperation
Research institutes; research stations
Hediger, Heini
Pujiula, Jaime
Pink, Olive Muriel
Muir, John
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
United States
Democratic Republic of the Congo
IIT Madras
Joshua Tree National Park
Kruger National Park (South Africa)
United Nations
United States. National Park Service

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