Anthropology | Wandering With A Purpose: An Introduction to Nomadic Pastoralism
A200 | 12729 | Schwab


Nomadic pastoralists - groups of people who migrate regularly with
herds of domesticated animals - have played a large role in history:
Genghis Khan built the largest land empire the world has ever seen,
Turkic and Iranian nomads helped to expand Islamic civilization
throughout Eurasia and Africa, and Attila the Hun contributed to the
collapse of the Roman Empire.  Today, nomadic pastoralism continues to
play a major role in economies in Central Asia, the Middle East, and
Africa, and may represent the most ecologically sound use of desert
and steppe landscapes.

This course will examine nomadic pastoralism throughout history and in
the present.  Some of the topics we will cover include: the ecological
conditions nomadic pastoralists face and create, the relationship
between nomadic pastoralists and sedantary societies, the social
organization of nomadic pastoralists, the sedantarization of nomadic
pastoralists, nomadic pastoralism as political adaptation, and the
future of nomadic pastoralism.  The main text for this class with be
Thomas Barfield's The Nomadic Alternative; in addition, we will read
authors such as Anatoly Khazanov, Nazif Shahrani, Elizabeth Bacon,
E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Caroline Humphrey, and Fredrik Barth.