Migration of pastoral nomads (Fulani) in Oyo north (southwest Nigeria) reflects resilience and adaptation to a new marginal environment and the invention of new human healthcare strategies. This has evolved through years of negotiation as a process of cultural production. The Fulani are the major cattle herders in Oyo north whose migration to the southwestern region of Nigeria dates back to 1836. While this mode of cultural production is neither peculiar to the Fulani nomads of Oyo north nor limited to human healthcare strategies, ethnographic details of negotiation in cultural production especially in human healthcare among the cattle nomads in Nigeria is lacking. Since their arrival, the Fulani cattle nomads have been confronted with emerging environmental and cultural challenges, which include living in and off the marginal forests mostly cultivated by the Yoruba farmers who are their hosts and with whom they engage in cooperation as well as in conflict. Coming from the arid grasslands of the northern Nigeria to the high humidity and forest zone of southwestern Nigeria, Fulani nomads encountered an entirely altered type of environment that required cultural invention, negotiation and adaptation. This involved processes of identifying modifying and changing environmental resources by which pastoral Fulani secured their livelihoods and healthcare.
The project establishes a research collaboration between a German anthropologist working on pastoral nomads and a Nigerian emerging specialist anthropologist of health and aims at creating insights on human-environmental relations and the invention of human healthcare strategies among the pastoral nomads of Oyo north, Nigeria. The project also includes junior scientists who are going to be trained in anthropological fieldwork and theory.
The planned fieldwork will focus on processes of environmental adaptation among the pastoral nomads, the local economy in Oyo north, relations of conflict and cooperation between Fulani and their Yoruba neighbours, health risks associated with the environment and economy in Oyo north, and invention of human healthcare strategies among the pastoral nomads of Oyo north.