Pastoralism in Africa: Critical perspectives on gender, ethnicity, and development
Instructor: Uros Kovac
People living in societies in Africa commonly referred to as ”pastoralist” are often depicted in simplistic terms: as backward, culturally conservative, resistant to development, and prone to violence. At the same time, romantic images of culture-bound pastoralists circulate widely and globally and provide Westerners (and others) with imaginaries of authentic and exotic Africa of yesteryear. However, pastoralism in Africa is not a single phenomenon: it reflects diverse cultural and historical settings and political and economic circumstances found throughout the continent, and is inextricable from global economic and political processes. This seminar provides ethnographic insights into select societies in East Africa (and beyond), such as the Nuer, the Maasai, and the Samburu, in order to critically reflect on issues of global significance. The seminar is designed to challenge myths about pastoralism in Africa; provide critical perspectives on issues like gender and sexuality, ethnicity and indigeneity, development and economics, and conflict and insecurity; and reflect on the role of social anthropology and ethnographic writing.
Do 28/11, 10:00-12:00. Introduction and structure of the course.
Sa 07/12, 10:00-14:00. Orientations: African pastoralism in dynamic perspective/From early to contemporary ethnographies of pastoralism.
Do 19/12, 10:00-12:00. Economics and development.
Do 09/01, 10:00-12:00. Gender and sexuality.
Do 16/01, 10:00-12:00. Ethnicity and indigeneity.
Do 23/01, 10:00-12:00. Conflict and insecurity.
Do 30/01, 10:00-12:00. Mobility/Beyond East Africa.