The panel revisits the question of Fulbe pastoralists facing change through the perspective of this conference's theme: connections and disruptions. It builds on the observation that Fulbe pastoralists have moved away from former "exit" strategies and are building multiple connections with society.
In 1999, a major contribution to the anthropological study of Fulbe (Fulani) pastoralists in West Africa asked if they had become "pastoralists under pressure". In 2019, twenty years later, it seems stunningly appropriate to revisit the question of Fulbe pastoralists facing change through the perspective of this conference's theme: connections and disruptions. Fulbe pastoralists, often seen as trying to avoid social and political participation through reserve and nomadic movement, have turned away from this "exit" strategy and built multiple connections with society. Getting children into school and higher education, getting milk and cattle into new markets, and getting one's people into government, business and other positions of influence have become key strategies for Fulbe pastoralists to respond to exclusion from resources as well as from social participation. The adaptation of technological innovations (including technologies of communication) has become a critical aspect of these strengthened connections between pastoral Fulbe and society. However, as the Fulbe have established new connections to the wider world, they have also experienced major disruptions within their communities and in their relationship with society. The growing divide between wealthy herd owners and stockless herders, violent herder-farmer conflicts, hostility against Fulbe based on prejudice, or parts of the young generation turning towards crime are some examples.
We are inviting contributions that elucidate such connections and disruptions between Fulbe pastoral groups and the wider West African society. Proposals should present relevant empirical data and ideally frame it as an updating contribution to the anthropological scholarship on Fulbe societies.