2 February, 2015: Mark Moritz (Ohio State University)

Title: Emergence of the Commons: How Pastoralists Avoid a Tragedy of the Commons in West Africa.
15:30-17:00h, Room 5.A42, Pieter de la Court building.

About Mark Moritz

Mark Moritz is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Environmental Science Graduate Program at the Ohio State University. He is an alumnus of Leiden University, where he graduated in 1995 on the marginalization of mobile pastoralists in northern Cameroon. In 2003 he received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles for his dissertation on the processes of intensification and individualization in the transformation of an African pastoral system in the Far North Region of Cameroon. Since then Mark Moritz has focused his research on pastoral development, management of common-pool resources, and ecology of infectious diseases.


African pastoralists

His research focuses on the transformation of African pastoral systems. It examines how pastoralists adapt to changing ecological, political and institutional conditions that affect their lives and livelihoods. Mark Moritz has been conducting research with pastoralists in the Far North Region of Cameroon since 1993. The long-term research has resulted in strong collaborations with local researchers, which has allowed him to develop a new interdisciplinary with colleagues at the Ohio State University and the University of Maroua in Cameroon.

Complex adaptive systems

Currently, Mark Moritz is writing a book that is based on a longitudinal study of mobile pastoralists in the Logone floodplain, Cameroon where open access to common-pool grazing resources does not lead to a tragedy of the commons. He argues that this pastoral system is best conceptualized as a complex adaptive system, in which a combination of individual decision-making and coordination of movements leads to an ideal free distribution of mobile pastoralists where the distribution of animals matches that of grazing resources. The book will be published in the Princeton Studies in Complexity series and will outline conceptual and methodological approaches in the study of complex social-ecological systems.

Research Seminars Spring 2015