My name is Leif Brottem and I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dry Seasons is a website about my research on agrarian livelihoods in West Africa and blog about related ideas and material.
My dissertation is entitled: ‘Farmer-herder conflict, environmental change, and institutional response in Mali’. As the title implies, this project is situated at the intersection of social and environmental change, which demands an inter-disciplinary and place-based approach. To do this, I draw from literature in political ecology, anthropology, West African history, and the spatial analytical areas of land change science and landscape ecology. In doing so, I seek to understand specific issues and patterns of change that I have observed while living in West African rural communities. Tens of millions of people rely on farming and livestock rearing in the West Africa Sahel.
At once seen as a region that is highly vulnerable to climate change, the inhabitants of dryland West Africa also demonstrate an astounding capacity to adapt to ecological and political uncertainty. One thing is sure: livelihoods and landscapes are changing rapidly in this part of the world and I am working to shed light on how these changes are unfolding.
Please feel free to read more about my dissertation, other activities and interests, check out my CV, articles written about Africa, and occasional blog posts.