Free online course: Pastoralism and uncertainty

29th September 2020

Gain an introduction to to pastoralism, uncertainty and resilience, with lessons for global change.

During this free online course, you’ll explore key concepts, case studies and questions for debate.

The course is based on the work of the IDS-led PASTRES programme (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins) programme. The lectures were initially presented as part of the training of the PASTRES PhD student cohort during 2019.

The course is made available with support from the European Research Council.

Course aims

To equip participants with basic knowledge about pastoralism and uncertainty, as fundamental to thinking about governance and policy in contemporary times. Participants will exploring new approaches both to understanding and response.

Who is it for?

The course is suitable for students, practitioners and policymakers.

How you’ll learn

You’ll learn through as series of video lectures, readings and questions. There are 13 parts to the course. Each part takes approximately 40 minutes to work through. You can do all parts or dip into particular ones.

To get an introduction to the course, try listening to the first two lectures first.

Course contents include:

  1. Debating pastoral development
  2. Herding through uncertainties
  3. What is uncertainty, and why does it matter?
  4. Uncertainty – thinking across fields
  5. Non-equilibrium environments, rangeland management and climate change
  6. Livestock production, feeding and disease
  7. Land and property in pastoral areas
  8. Resource ‘grabs’, investment and territory in pastoral areas
  9. Pastoralism and mobility
  10. Class dynamics, social difference and changing social relations in pastoral areas
  11. Poverty, livelihood vulnerability and disasters in pastoral areas
  12. ‘Real markets’, commodity chains and economic valuation in pastoral areas
  13. Conflict and governance in pastoral frontiers

How to enrol

No formal enrolment process is needed. To access the course, visit

Please read the short course terms and conditions: IDS_Terms_&_Conditions (pdf)

Photo credit: Farmer at Kongoussi village near Lake Bam. A farmer brings his cattle for a drink | Ollivier Girard/CIFOR | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0