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

More CRC News

picture taken during a workshop in namibia

How Things Connect People: Project C05 Organizes and Conducts Workshop in Namibia

Project C05 Framing Futures investigates how concepts of age and generation shape temporal frames of reference in future-making and compare temporal frames of reference used ...
Read More »
delegations of mzumbe university and the departemnt of geography at the university of bonn

Vice-Chancellor of Mzumbe University Visits Department of Geography in Bonn

A delegation from Mzumbe University in Tanzania recently visited the University of Bonn’s Department of Geography. Mzumbe University is a a partner institution in the ...
Read More »
thumbnail for this entry of the wawili toolbox blog series

Wawili Toolbox Entry 6: Contested Roles and Expectations

The arrival at Mt. Paka and life among the pastoral community is something that will be explored below. Of course, in retrospect, many experiences appear ...
Read More »
cover for a website post

Short Film: The Southern Buffalo Fence

By Wisse van Engelen (Project A04 Future Conservation). Disease transmission is an often overlooked form of human-wildlife conflict, yet animal diseases and veterinary interventions often ...
Read More »
website of the research consortium "commodifying the wild"

Future Rural Africa Researchers Eric Kioko and Clemens Greiner named Principal Investigators in Newly Established Research Consortium “Commodifying the Wild”

The newly established, DFG funded research consortium “Commodifying the Wild” aims to contribute to a better understanding of the trans-regional ecological, social, and political dimensions ...
Read More »
Scroll to Top