My research focuses on livelihood strategies and decisions relating to land use among the pastoral peoples of Eastern Africa. I’ve spent nearly 30 years engaged in this research mostly with the Turkana of northern Kenya and the Maasai of northern Tanzania. Most recently I’ve been conducting research on the process of livelihood diversification among the Maasai, including the adoption of cultivation and rural-urban migration. Currently I have just finished two projects in addition to the phone study. One of which asked the research question: Under what conditions do extreme events become transformative? This was a detailed study of the 2008/09 drought in northern Tanzania. The other is a project examine the relationship of climate to conflict in Kenya. Most of this work has been funded by the National Science Foundation , but also by National Geographic, the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK, and the MacArthur Foundation. My book, Cattle Bring Us to Our Enemies: Turkana Ecology, History and Raiding in a Disequilibrium System won the 2005 Julian Steward award for the best book written in the previous year in ecological and environmental anthropology.
AAAS fellow; Winner of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award