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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Developmental narratives are commonly constructed through statements on directions and drivers of ongoing change. In the process, however, heterogeneous realities and historical trajectories become manicured and truncated due to temporal short-sightedness, misinformation, and the creation of clear-cut categorizations. Based on historical, geographical, and anthropological research on landscape change in East Africa from the nineteenth century to the present, this chapter examines how different types of historical data sources (maps, photographs, remote sensing data, written and oral accounts, as well as the landscape itself) can be used to both interrogate and improve the rigour of narratives that frame concerns for development and conservation. We describe methods of interaction with members of the researched communities over these various data bodies, and summarize this process as ‘participatory checking’. While the focus of this chapter is on landscape change the participatory research methods described are equally relevant to other topics and disciplines.

Keywords: Landscape change, participatory checking, member checking, participatory research methods, historical data, Tanzania

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