Living with ruins: ruination and future-making in Kenya (and beyond) – CRC-TRR 228 Led Open Access Special Issue of Journal of Eastern African Studies

Uroš Kovač (Future Rural Africa Project B04 Projecting Futures) and Anna Lisa Ramella (Future Rural Africa Project C06 Testing Futures) edited a special issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies, sponsored by the Collaborative Research Centre TRR 228 Future Rural Africa, titled “Living with ruins: ruination and future-making in Kenya (and beyond)”.


In the first quarter of the 21st century, much future-making in Kenya is taking place in ruins of unfinished promising projects, failed capitalist enterprises, and decades of colonial and postcolonial exclusion and marginalization. When discussing future-making in Kenya specifically and Africa more generally, especially in the context of vision-driven developmentalist narratives that rely on visions of linear progress and growth, analysts and social scientists need to account for ways that futures emerge from ruins and rubble of undelivered and uncertain promises, collapsed industries, and colonial and postcolonial dispossession of land and rights. This special collection—which engages with key theoretical concepts like ruination, infrastructuring, and future-making—examines ruins and ruination in key economic and political domains that make claims to Kenya’s future: capitalist boom-and-bust economies, mega-scale infrastructure projects, and urban development. In all these domains, futures are emerging through assemblages of people’s everyday practices of maintenance and the ruins that surround them, complicating facile proclamations of Africa’s rising or abjection.

Table of Contents


Kovač, U., Ramella, A.L. (Eds.), 2023. Living with ruins: ruination and future-making in Kenya (and beyond) (Special Issue). Journal of Eastern African Studies (2023). Link

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