Research assistant needed for systematic literature review

Student Researcher Position Description

Research group seeking a student to assist with a systematic literature review of mobile pastoralism in Central Africa (background information provided below). This student will be responsible for finding and reviewing pertinent literature on this topic and summarizing his/her findings for analysis, under the guidance of two of the paper’s authors. This work will contribute to a better understanding of the existing literature on pastoralism in Central Africa, will help identify gaps in current research, and may contribute to policy discussions on these topics. If the student contributes significantly to the project, he/she will be a named author on the resulting paper(s). We seek a student with the following qualifications:

  • Previous coursework/research in: sociology, anthropology, political ecology, African studies, rangeland ecology, or comparable fields
  • Ability to synthesize peer-reviewed literature
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and efficiently
  • Advanced writing and editing skills
  • Ability to work as a part of a team

Literature Review Background (review paper draft abstract):

Title: A critical review of mobile pastoralism in Central Africa

Abstract: Mobile pastoralism has been a key feature of Sub-Saharan Africa for thousands of years, playing a critical role in cultural identity of herding communities and providing an important adaptive strategy in a region characterized by high rainfall variability. In Central Africa, mobile pastoralism exists within a complex tapestry of differing political milieus and rapidly changing land-use patterns that include the establishment of protected areas, urbanization, and agriculture expansion, often associated with different forms of conflict. Because these mobile populations are not easily legible to state governments, they are frequently portrayed as propagators of violence and environmental degradation or accused of having direct associations with armed groups or terrorism. This paper provides the first comprehensive systematic review of mobile pastoralism in Central Africa and focuses on answering the following questions: 1) What do we know about mobile pastoralism in Central Africa? 2) How and in what ways has the literature discussed conflict/violence in relationship to mobile pastoralism? 3) What are the predominant narratives put forward about mobile pastoralism in Central Africa? The paper reviews what work has already been undertaken on this topic, identifies key knowledge and data gaps in the contemporary literature, and proposes a path forward to best understand the dynamic interplay of mobile pastoralism, the environment, conflict, development, and security in this complex region of the world.

For more information, please contact Dr. Matthew Luizza (