New online course on pastoralism and uncertainty

Published on 23 June 2020

A new online course introduces key debates and concepts about pastoralism, and explores the varying ways that pastoralists respond to uncertainty around the world.

Based on the work of the PASTRES programme, the course is aimed at students, practitioners and policy-makers. It is divided into 13 parts with a lecture, suggested readings and questions in each part.

All the course lectures and many of the readings are open access, and the course is designed for people to study at their own pace.

About the topic

The Pastoralism and Uncertainty course introduces key concepts, cases and questions for debate on pastoralism, uncertainty and resilience.

Pastoralism involves living with and from uncertainty. It makes use of highly variable environments, subject to climate change. Environments, animals and their products are very diverse across the world, and there are many different ways that pastoralists relate to land and the spaces around them, moving around or staying in place. Living in often resource-poor areas on the margins of state power, pastoralists frequently come into conflict with states and neighbours.

Pastoralism is changing, with increased pressure on land from investments in agriculture, energy or conservation, expanding towns and farms, and changing access to resources and services. New markets and new opportunities are opening up too.

Background and lecturer info

The course is based on a PhD programme based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), part of the PASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience) project funded by the European Research Council.

Lecturers on the course include Ian Scoones (IDS), Michele Nori (European University Institute), Jeremy Lind (IDS), Antonello Franca (Italian National Research Council) and Alex Tasker (University College London).

Explore the course

To take the course, visit the Pastoralism and Uncertainty course homepage.

Related resources

In 2020, the Institute of Development Studies is celebrating 50 years of research on pastoralism. Publications to mark this anniversary include a bibliography of IDS research on pastoralism (PDF), and a special issue of the IDS Bulletin.

PASTRES publishes a regular blog on pastoralism, uncertainty and resilience, with updates from researchers working around the world. For latest updates, a newsletter and social media, and more details about the project, visit the PASTRES website.


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