Australian Rangeland Society

WHEN:  19-22 October 2021

WHERE: University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg Campus, Denmark



Pastoralism contributes to and secures the livelihood of millions of people worldwide, and pastoralists have showed remarkable ability to adapt to dry environments and large climatic variability. Yet, pastoralism is under pressure due to a variety of historical and contemporary factors.

Historically, governments in many countries in Asia and Africa have pursued policies that have resulted in pastoralist displacement and marginalization. In recent decades, tensions and conflicts between pastoralists and other groups (small-scale farmers, private investors, etc.) have increased over natural resources, such as pasture, land, and water. Such conflicts claim thousands of lives each year. The climate increasingly changes and undermines the availability of pasture and water for pastoralists and their livestock. Structural changes associated with increased commercialization and commodification of land and cattle, which link to broader patterns of agrarian transformation, lead to enclosure, dispossession and restrictions on transhumance practices. In many of the areas that pastoralists have traditionally occupied, there is land speculation involving urban business and elites, including military personnel and politicians. All over, conflicts between pastoralists and other societal groups are multi-facetted and entangled with issues of culture, identity, ethnicity and religion. In some cases, the conflicts link to national and regional instability and insecurity, terrorism and violent extremism.

The course aims at presenting theoretical and empirical approaches relevant for scholarly work on pastoralism in the perspective of conflict and change. We will look into structural explanations of farmer-herder conflicts, including notions of scarcity and the political economy associated with pastoralism. It concerns land rights, land tenure and access, and social-spatial-temporal analysis of how land policies affect pastoralists. It also includes work on conflict theory and conflict dynamics as well as climate change adaptation, uncertainty and resilience.

This PhD course is relevant for PhD students who are examining and trying to understand how cattle, conflict, environmental change and the wider political economies contribute to shaping the conditions for pastoralism. The PhD course includes lectures from leading scholars on pastoralism, conflict, and change, and offers opportunities for participants to present and discuss their own research and to interact and engage with scholars and students undertaking studies on similar, or related, topics. The course concludes with a half-day public seminar.

See the flyer for more information or contact Charlotte Maybom, U Copenhagen (

PLEASE NOTE:  This is a course for a very limited number of PhD candidates. Participants will have to cover their own costs for transport and accommodation and also pay the course fee. It may therefore be of most interest for PhD students currently living in Northern and Western Europe.