Dr B.B. Mukamuri
Cell: +263 772 112 774
Welcome to the Centre for Applied Social Sciences. In the early 1970s, academics concerned with the racial situation in the country, and seeking to make a difference in their own way, initiated the Centre for Race and Ethnic Studies. The Centre was located in the Department of Sociology, and enjoyed funding from international and local organisations including those linked to The Association of Round Tables in Central Africa. For over 2 decades, the Centre led in racial studies, producing a famous publication, Education, Race Employment in Rhodesia, published in 1975. The creation of a democratic multi racial society in Zimbabwe in 1980, introduced new challenges, some relating to resource governance. It was for this reason that the Centre for Applied Social Sciences transformed itself into a university department, through a Senate Paper 2/85: As of 1985, CASS shall become an applied social science department administratively located in the Faculty of Social Studies, responsible for an interdisciplinary applied social science research and teaching programme available on an inter-faculty basis throughout the University.
CASS has provided this function, providing teaching support to Sociology and Psychology. It has also provided research opportunities to Faculty members starting in the fisheries project of the early 1980s. A grant in the late 90s enabled CASS to provide its service across faculties, including Science and Engineering. In 1994 CASS produced its first own doctoral graduates in Applied Social Sciences. CASS has maintained this role, taking advantage of funding from donors. A grant from the Ford Foundation and another from USAID supported research around resource governance. Research outputs have been critical in policy and management changes taking place in Zimbabwe. The inception and rise of CAMPFIRE, a community conservation project, can be traced to the applied research from CASS and its collaborative partners such as WWF and ZIMTRUST.
Presently, CASS provides high level graduate and policy relevant teaching and research. It pursues excellence in scholarship and production of policy and program relevant research that is effectively delivered to its constituency and combines this research with high level professional training. Within the broad area of environmental teaching, CASS focuses on the social, political, micro-economic and institutional aspects of natural resources management, longitudinal and participatory methodologies being dominant.
In 1982, the Centre for Inter-Racial Studies which he directed became the Centre for Applied Social Sciences. Prof. Murphree started to embark on research in peripheral areas of Zimbabwe, largely in fragile environments that were not suitable for intensive commercial agriculture. This led to an interest in environmental and equity issues, which he pursued through teaching and research.
Research interest in environmental and equity issues resulted in Professor Murphree spearheaded the wildlife proprietorship initiatives. His efforts led to the creation of the world acclaimed Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) programme. The programme, though encompassing other natural resources, was centred on wildlife in communal areas adjacent to National Parks and other protected areas. Professor Murphree together with students, largely from CASS, provided academic and professional advice to CAMPFIRE.
Changes in Zimbabwe’s macro-economic environment beginning in 2000 have led CASS to widen its research focus. Although the main research focus is still on natural resources, the following thematic areas are becoming increasingly important in CASS’ research effort:
- Environment and Sustainable development
- Conflict Studies
- Governance and Equity
- Community Development Strategies
- Climate Change and Variability
- Global Environmental Politics
- Land Reform and Agrarian Studies
- Political Economy of Development
- Rural Livelihoods Strategies
- Food Security (Sovereignty)
- Gender Studies
- Social Impacts of Epidemiologies
- Human Wildlife Conflicts
To become a pre-eminent international centre of excellence in transforming society through research and teaching.
To provide multi-disciplinarity graduate and policy-relevant training and applied research to various constituencies so as to enhance the process of societal transformation.
CASS’s Core Business
CASS has developed a reputation for innovative and independent social science scholarship at both national and international levels. This has been achieved through the Centre’s strategic approach that combines:
Promoting longitudinal, participatory methodologies
Effectively delivering research results and
Focusing on policy relevance
The Centre’s teaching and research interests have been in the field of environmental policy and management. A symbiotic relationship has developed between the teaching and research programmes where mutual feedback allows for further development of each of the programmes.