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New publication: Lands of the Future

A new edited volume on pastoralism, land deals, and tropes of modernity in Eastern Africa
New publication: Lands of the Future

Lands of the Future

Lands of the Future, an edited volume on  challenges facing pastoralist communities in East Africa, considers the position of pastoralists at the intersection of competing projects of 'future-making' -- including projects of expropriation, large-scale land transfers, and hydropower projects.

"Rangeland, forests and riverine landscapes of pastoral communities in Eastern Africa," the editors note, "are increasingly under threat. Abetted by states who think that outsiders can better use the lands than the people who have lived there for centuries, outside commercial interests have displaced indigenous dwellers from pastoral territories. This volume presents case studies from Eastern Africa, based on long-term field research, that vividly illustrate the struggles and strategies of those who face dispossession and also discredit ideological false modernist tropes like ‘backwardness’ and ‘primitiveness’."

Five of the book's thirteen chapters focus on the Lower Omo, including Shauna LaTosky on Mun (Mursi) customary land use and FPIC, Lucie Buffavand on the Mela (Bodi) experience of 'the brunt of state power', Fana Gebresenbet on villagization in Ethiopia's lowlands, and Jed Stevenson & Benedikt Kamski on hydropower and irrigation development in the Omo-Turkana basin. An overview chapter by David Turton, 'Breaking every rule in the book', tells the story of river basin development in the Lower Omo Valley.

Other chapters (notably those by Jonah Wedekind on "investment failure and land conflicts on the Oromia-Somali frontier," and by Maknun Ashami & Jean Lydall on the Awash Valley) provide useful counterpoints to events in the region.

The book is available to order from the Berghahn website, where Echi Gabbert's introduction -- "Future-making with pastoralists" is also available as a free download.

Until 28 February 2021, a 50% reduction on the price of the book is available with the code GAB907.

Lands of the future: Anthropological perspectives on pastoralism, land deals, and tropes of modernity in Eastern Africa. Edited by Echi Christina Gabbert, Fana Gebresenbet, John G. Galaty, and Günther Schlee. Oxford: Berghahn (January, 2021)

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