Online Course: Pastoralism and Uncertainty

This course offers an introduction to thinking about different aspects of pastoralism based on the work of the PASTRES programme.

The lectures were initially presented as part of the training of the PASTRES PhD student cohort during 2019. They introduce key concepts, multiple cases and questions for debate on pastoralism, uncertainty and resilience.

This course is made available through support from the European Research Council (ERC) to the PASTRES project.

Go straight to Part 1

How to use this course

The course is suitable for students, practitioners and policymakers. You can listen to all 13 sessions, or dip into particular ones. To get an introduction, try listening to the first two lectures first.

Video lectures: Each session is around 30-40 mins, and consists of slides with lecture audio.

Questions: Each section has a short written introduction, plus suggested readings and questions.  Think about the questions as you listen to the lecture – the aim is to get you to think about the places you work. How similar or different are they to the cases being discussed?

Readings: We have listed a few readings (mostly open access) for each section: don’t feel you have to read them to understand the lecture. If you want to pursue debates further, these are good places to start.

Course contents

1: Debating pastoral development

2: Herding through uncertainties

3: What is uncertainty, and why does it matter?

4: Uncertainty – thinking across fields

5: Non-equilibrium environments, rangeland management and climate change

6: Livestock production, feeding and disease

7: Land and property in pastoral areas

8: Resource ‘grabs’, investment and territory in pastoral areas

9: Pastoralism and mobility

10: Class dynamics, social difference and changing social relations in pastoral areas

11: Poverty, livelihood vulnerability and disasters in pastoral areas

12: ‘Real markets’, commodity chains and economic valuation in pastoral areas

13: Conflict and governance in pastoral frontiers

Other background material

Background reading on pastoralism

For the full reference lists from the PASTRES sessions, see the full reading list.

Full reading list (PDF)

There are of course potentially many, many more. For an archive of material on pastoralism and development by the PASTRES team and their networks, see the background reading page on this website. For more recent publications funded by the PASTRES programme, see the main Publications page.

For further reading suggestions, there is an online bibliography of work on pastoralism conducted by researchers from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex. An open access archive issue of the IDS Bulletin has also been produced, with a new introduction written by the PASTRES team.

PASTRES Seminars

For further viewing, watch the seminars held at Sussex as part of the PASTRES course:

Watch lectures on related themes

While not part of the PASTRES course, the following lectures by Ian Scoones include relevant themes for exploring further.

Photo credit (main banner): Palden Tsering

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