Samuel Frederick Derbyshire
Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationOxford, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9943
Approve DateOctober 24, 2019
Project TitleDerbyshire, Samuel (Oxford U.) "Reconfiguring African pastoralism: a historical ethnography of resilience, mobility and ingenuity "
This project will explore the ways in which pastoralist societies in Africa have achieved resilience in the face of significant socio-economic, environmental and ecological transformations over the recent past. It will do so through an innovative use of ethnographic object collections, historical photographs and films from the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. This collection has accumulated over many years and encapsulates a rare diachronic picture of change that spans the entire 20th century. Visual copies of these resources will be returned to communities in northern Kenya and central Sudan for the first time and deployed, alongside more standard ethnographic techniques, as research tools in a variety of data collection activities. Photographs of people, places and objects will be used to elicit experiences and knowledge of changing herd structures and strategies, flora and fauna and lake and river hydrology, and the roles of all of these in recent and ongoing social and economic transformations. This project will therefore not only be of great importance to anthropological understandings of life in Africa’s pastoralist populations, but also to policy makers and development organisations addressing numerous social and environmental issues, including the effects of a series of recent expansive infrastructural projects.