Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology


Mieka Polanco

Jennifer E. Coffman

Carole Nash


This ethnographic study examines Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Mji Mkongwe (Stone Town), Zanzibar, and how ecological knowledge shared by locals on the island is formed and is shared among locals in a park setting. Using a framework of political ecology, this study specifically highlights ecological pressures of local population growth, global climate change on a local scale, and local economic changes as the key drivers for the creation and cultural importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge. To discover both the ecological pressures and the examples of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, I conducted semi-structured, open-ended interviews in Forodhani Park, a public park on the coast of Mji Mkongwe. I spoke with 25 local Zanzibaris visiting or living near the park and asked them a set of prepared interview questions that guided a set of follow up questions. The patterns I discovered involving Traditional Ecological Knowledge emphasized a mixture of different themes, including creation of a unique Zanzibari identity and reinforcement of gender-specific and religiously tied ecologically grounded practices. This thesis emphasizes how this knowledge is being shared and normalized in Forodhani Park and the dynamism of Traditional Ecological Knowledge itself.



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