Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Brent McCusker

Committee Member

Jamie Shinn

Committee Member

Bradley Wilson

Committee Member

Karen Culcasi

Committee Member

Robert Maxon


Using a political ecology framework, I explore the relationship between international trophy hunting and South Africa’s private wildlife ranching industry. I interrogate the intersection of colonialism, capitalism, and conservation, which at its nexus are the discourses, policies, and logics that greenwash the production of nature. The proceeding chapters highlight a number of specific themes that problematize the neoliberalization of nature, including (i) the contradictions of imposing a market value to nonhumans; (ii) the operationalization of socioeconomic and environmental frameworks to justify trophy hunting and the breeding of nonhumans for profit; (iii) the use of African landscape and wildlife imagery to market trophy hunting; and (iv) how industry advocates advance a politics of scale, fear, and difference to strengthen cultural identities and cultivate a sense of belonging. Data reveal that private wildlife ranching paradoxically privileges some species over others, which means that some nonhuman lives are more intensely manipulated and violently exploited than others. Consequently, this dissertation calls for greater consideration of nonhuman sentience and complexity in decisions regarding wildlife conservation rather than an utilitarian ethos guided by colonial epistemologies and neoliberal logics that abstract nonhuman lives into parts for capitalist accumulation.