Skip to main content

British Academy HERDING Project

Understanding Dignity, Heritage and Adaptation

The HERDING project builds understanding of human and cultural contexts to inform discussion of sustainable development for some of the world’s most ‘left behind’ people: women in mobile pastoralist communities in India. Among these women, heritage and dignity are historically intertwined aspects of social identity, resilience and sustainable livelihoods. The project works in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh. Four case studies illuminate the diversity of subjective ways in which Hindu and Muslim pastoralist women relate to the intersections between gender, nature, culture and religion in contexts of rapid agrarian change, uneven economic growth and livelihood transitions. These case studies are co-produced with Indian non-government organisations and are being used to support evidence-based advocacy. The research enables a reimagining of sustainable development in ways that honour pastoralists’ heritage, interrupt processes of exclusion, and support India’s SDG programming.

The project is led by Professor Caroline Dyer with Dr Archana Choksi and Professor Emma Tomalin at Leeds, in partnership with the Centre for Pastoralism, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan, SETU Abhiyan, Anthra, and Himachal Van Shikhar Manch in India.

This project is funded by the British Academy under its Sustainable Development Programme 2018 (