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Birders of AfricaHistory of a Network$
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Nancy J. Jacobs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300209617

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300209617.001.0001

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Birding Revolutions

Birding Revolutions

(p.211) Chapter 8 Birding Revolutions
Birders of Africa

Nancy J. Jacobs

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the emergence of recreational birdwatching, an activity of finding, noting, and recording birds by species, often with an emphasis on quantifiable personal achievement. Its practitioners are members of the urban bourgeoisie who were estranged from their forebears' vernacular knowledge yet sought out an experience of nature. Recreational birding grew out of ornithology. Through much of the twentieth century there was a continuum between leading ornithologists and gentlemen who wrote for local natural history journals. As ornithology was professionalized and as multitudes of people have developed a more casual interest in birds, the two traditions have moved apart. Recreational birdwatching in late twentieth-century Africa was distinguished from the rest of the world by being the pursuit of the Euro-African minority and expatriates.

Keywords:   recreational birdwatching, urban bourgeoisie, vernacular knowledge, ornithology, natural history, birds

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