Wilhelm Östberg

Wilhelm Östberg

Docent i socialantropologi

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Works at Department of Human Geography
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 8
Room X 323
Postal address Kulturgeografiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Associate professor in social anthropology.
Affiliated researcher at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University

Research areas:
Environmental perceptions in rural East Africa.
Long-term change in East African rural societies

Traditional art in Africa.

Publications, selection:

[With Lotta Lagercrantz] ”Konst, pengar och poser i Shanghai”. Respons #2, 2019: 9-13

[With: Camilla Årlin, Lowe Börjeson] ”Participatory Checking and the Temporality of Landscapes: Increasing Trust and Relevance in Qualitative Research”. Pp. 345 – 365 in The Oxford Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology, ed. by Christian Isendahl and Daryl Stump. Oxford University Press, 2019.

Wero Kositet: The bard of Marakwet. Kenya Past and Present. Vol. 45, p. 59-66. 2018

[With: Olivia Howland; Joseph Mduma; Dan Brockington]. "Tracing Improving Livelihoods in Rural Africa Using Local Measures of Wealth: A Case Study from Central Tanzania, 1991–2016." Land 7 (2), 44:1-26. 2018.

”Sluttande plan för Lööf” Dagens ETC/debatt, 6 april 2018

[With Martina Angela Caretta] Kerio Valley, 1973-2013: A case study of Kenyan smallholder agriculture. African Studies 76(3):402–422. 2017.

Bringing back the trees. Kenya Past and Present, 2017, #44: 11-22

Newly digitized 100-year old recordings bring African song and dance to life. Blogpost, Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm, 2017. Source:

Göra kultur – Hur det blir midsommar i Vamlingbo. Pp. 66-77 i Från Gutabygd, red. Annika Melin. Visby: Gotlands Hembygdsförbunds förlag. 2016.

När Nerfetiti lämnade Egypten. Utställningsestetiskt Forum 2016, #1,

Museum pieces: Life once removed. Kenya Past and Present, 2016, #43:32-42.

[With Camilla Årlin and Lowe Börjeson] Participatory Checking and the Temporality of Landscapes: Increasing Trust and Relevance in Qualitative Research. In The Oxford Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology, Edited by Christian Isendahl and Daryl Stump. 2015. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199672691.013.19

Museet som världens mötesplats. Utställningsestetiskt Forum 2015, #6.

Norrgårde. Pp. 77-83 i Ett solvarv på Storsudret, red. Anita Widén. Visby: Gotlandsboken AB, 2015.

Life among the Marakwet. Kenya Past and Present 42:53-67, 2015.

[With Martina Caretta, Lowe Börjeson, Lars-Ove Westerberg.] Labour, climate perceptions and soils in the irrigations systems in Sibou, Kenya & Engaruka, Tanzania. Stockholm University: Department of Human Geography. Also available in, Swahili and Marakwet. 2014.

- "Irrigated fields are wives: indigenous irrigation in Marakwet, Kenya." Pp. 197-214 in Landesque Capital: The Historical Ecology of Enduring Landscape Modifications, ed. by N. T. Håkansson and M. Widgren, editors. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. 2014.

- Nyttan av en halv kalebass. Berättelser om föremål från Afrika. Stockholm: Carlssons. 2012

"Safflower: liberalisation or participation in a Tanzanian village." Pp. 250-261 in Ecology and Power. Struggles over land and material resources in the past, present, and future, ed. by Alf Hornborg, Brett Clark, and Kenneth Hermele. London & New York:Routledge. 2012.

“Asante goes Italian: Global Inspiration or Appropriation of Intellectual Property?” Pp. 138-9 in Fetish Modernity, ed. by Anne-Marie Bouttiaux and Anna Seiderer with the collaboration of Noemi del Vecchio. Tervuren (Belgium): Royal Museum for Central Africa. 2011.

“He who carries the spear - Gerhard Lindblom's fieldwork in eastern Kenya. 1911-1912”. Manuscripta Orientalia 6(2):35-48. 2010.

[With Monique Slegers] Losing faith in the land: changing environmental perceptions in Burunge country, Tanzania. Journal of Eastern African Studies 4(2):247-265, 2010.

To renew and transform. Dance masks and sculptures from Africa. Pp. 54-81 in The power of Africa. Three Perspectives. Ed. By Päivi Talasmaa, Hannele Savelainen, Tiina Bodonyi and Tiina Penttilä. Espoo (Finland): EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art. 2010.

[With Håkan Wahlquist] ”När diasporan går på museum.” Pp. 146-149 i Utställningsestetiskt Forum #2009, red. Eva Persson. Stockholm: Archives of the Nobel Museum 12. 2010.

[With Franziska Bedorf] “African objets d’art as currency in a bid for the Polar Star – and for recognition on the European scene”. Pp. 30-43 in Whose Objects? Art Treasures from the Kingdom of Benin in the collection of the Museum of Ethnography, ed. by Wilhelm Östberg. Stockholm: Etnografiska museet, Kulturperspektiv 23. 2010.

“The coveted treasures of the Kingdom of Benin.” Pp. 52-71 in Whose Objects? Art Treasures from the Kingdom of Benin in the collection of the Museum of Ethnography, ed. by Wilhelm Östberg. Stockholm: Etnografiska museet, Kulturperspektiv 23. 2010.

”Bronsreliefer från det gamla Benin – och två från dagens Benin City.” Sid. 44-51 i Vem tillhör föremålen? Konstskatter från kungariket Benin i Etnografiska museets samlingar, redigerad av Wilhelm Östberg. Stockholm: Etnografiska museet, Kulturperspektiv 22. 2010

[With Tor Arve Benjaminsen, Ian Bryceson, Annika Dahlberg, Karin Holmgren, Lars Johansson and Mats Widgren] ”Svenskt bistånd ska rädda miljöfarligt etanolprojekt”. DN DEBATT, 14 april 2009

[With Monique Slegers]. The strength of the land and the missing rains. Environmental change in Goima, Tanzania, and farmers’ growing concerns. Pp. 129-150 in Exploring farmers’ perceptions of drought in Tanzania and Ethiopia by Monique F.W. Slegers. Wageningen University, 2008.

[With Richard Kangalawe & Carl Christiansson]. Changing land-use patterns and farming strategies in the degraded environment of the Irangi Hills, central Tanzania.  Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment Vol 125/1-4 pp 33-47, 2008.

Tanzania i kläm när svenska Sekab satsar på etanol. Dagens ETC #5:12-13, 2008.

[With Annika Dahlberg]. Review of “Sub-Saharan Africa: An Environmental History” by Gregory Maddox. ABC-Clio, 2006. Ethnos. Journal of Anthropology, 73(2):272-274, 2008.

[With Michael Barrett]. Kunskapen som kan förnya de etnografiska museerna. Utställningsestetiskt Forum, juni 2008.

Three chapters in the volume Dansmaskens berättelse. Birgit Åkessons resor i Afrika, edited by Wilhelm Östberg & Ann-Cathrine Lagercrantz. Stockholm: Etnografiska museet, Kulturperspektiv 17, 2007.

[With Annika Dahlberg] Review of “Highland Sanctuary: Environmental History in Tanzania’s Usambara Mountains” by Christopher Conte, Ohio University Press, 2004. Geografiska Annaler 89B(1):85-87, 2007.

Review of Alan Bicker, Paul Sillitoe and Johan Pottier (eds). 2004. “Development and Local Knowledge: New Approaches to Issues in Natural Resource Management, Conservation and Agriculture.” London/New York: Rooutledge. Ethnos. Journal of Anthropology vol. 70(2): 277-279  2006.

Acts of Acquistion: Five Narratives of Collecting for a Museum of Ethnography. Pp. 53-71 in East African Contours. Reviewing Creativity and Visual Culture, ed. By Hassan Arero & Zachary Kingdon. London: The Horniman Museum and Gardens, 2005.

The Expansion of Marakwet Hill-Furrow Irrigation in the Kerio Valley of Kenya. Pp. 19–48 in Islands of Intensive Agriculture in Eastern Africa, ed. by. Mats Widgren and John E.G. Sutton. Oxford: James Currey, 2004.

Seven chapters in the volume Med världen i kappsäcken. Samlingarnas väg till Etnografiska museet, ed. by  Wilhelm Östberg.  Stockholm: Etnografiska museet, 2002.

När Afrika kom oss nära. Missionen och den svenska Afrikabilden. Stockholm: Etnografiska museet. Kulturperspektiv #13, 2002.

Two chapters in the volume Tre världsbilder. Samtida konst från tre kontinenter. Stockholm: Folkens museum-etnografiska, Kulturperspektiv 12, 2000.

Eroded Consensus: Donors and the Dilemmas of Degradation in Kondoa, Central Tanzania. Pp. 243-276 in Producing Nature and Poverty in Africa, ed. by Vigdis Broch-Due & Richard Schroeder. Rutgers NJ and Uppsala: Transaction Press and the Nordic Africa Institute, 2000.

[With Camilla Årlin] Chesoi Miaka ya 1970: Jamii Yenye Maendeleo. Pp. 1-4 in Masimulizi na Hadithi kutoka Chesoi. Huko Kobil, Chesoi, Wilaya ya Marakwet 1973-1975. Utafiti kuhusu binadamu na mazingira Afrika ya Mashariki, Namba 2. Stockholm University: EDSU, 2000.

[With Carl Christiansson and Idris S. Kikula.] Research in Support of Soil Conservation Projects - Or of Land Users? Pp. 1211-1223 in Soil and Water Conservation. Challenges and Opportunities. Volume 2. Edited by L.S. Bhushan, I.P. Abrol and M.S. Rama Mohan Rao. Dehra Fun: Indian Association of Soil and Water Conservation. 1998.

[With Chris Reij.] Culture and Local Knowledge - Their Roles in Soil and Water conservation. Advances in GeoEcology 31: 1349-1358. 1998.

När bistånd blir motstånd. Forskning & Framsteg 97(7):24-28. 1997.

En afrikansk marklära med konsekvenser. Jord som stiger mot ljuset. Tvärsnitt  97(3):28-35, 1997.

Land is Coming Up. The Burunge of Central Tanzania and Their Environments. Stockholm University: Stockholm Studies in Social Anthropology, 34. 1995.

[With Clas Lindberg, Vesa-Matti Loiske and Claude Mung'ong'o]: Handle with care! Rapid studies and the poor. PLA Notes 22: 11-16. 1995.

Myt och vetenskap om bushfolket. Den stora Kalaharikontroversen. Tvärsnitt 1994(2):28-37, 1994.

The Bushmen:  A Tale of Survival. Pp. 140-141 in Traditional Peoples Today. Continuity and Change in the Modern World, volume 5 of The Illustrated History of Humankind. American Museum of Natural History. New York: HarperCollins. Sydney: Weldon Owen, 1994.

Matumizi ya ardhi katika vilima vya Uburunge. Hali ilivyo na ushauri wa baadaye. Utafiti wa binadamu na mazingira Mikoa ya kati Tanzania, Namba 9. Stockholm University, University of Dar es Salaam: EDSU na IRA. 1994.

[With Carl Christiansson and Idris Kikula.] "Man-Land Interrelations in Semi-Arid Tanzania: A Multidisciplinary Research Programme." Ambio 20(8):357-361, 1991. 1993.

Bushfolket. Liv och ekologi i södra Afrika. Stockholm: Carlsson Bokförlag, 1993.

Gräv där du står, mitt i Tanzania. Tvärsnitt  15(3):24-35, 1993.

Klippmålningar i södra Afrika, I begynnelsen var människan en antilop. Forskning och Framsteg  1991(3):4-11, 1991.

We Eat Trees. Tree Planting and Land Rehabilitation in West Pokot District, Kenya. A Baseline Study.  Uppsala: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, International Rural Development Centre, Working Paper 82, 1988.

The Kondoa Transformation. Coming to Grips with Soil Erosion in Central Tanzania.  Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies. Research Report No. 76, 1986.

Last updated: June 10, 2019

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