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Current CNP Chair

Elliot Fratkin

Portrait of Elliot FratkinElliot Fratkin is the Gwendolen M. Carter Professor of African Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Smith College, Northampton MA USA; he is also a member of the graduate faculty of the University of Massachusetts.  His research focuses on society, ecology, health and nutrition, and social change among nomadic pastoralists in East Africa, particularly Ariaal pastoralists of northern Kenya (a cultural mix of cattle-keeping Samburu and camel-keeping Rendille). He has written on ritual life and the activities of laibon medicine men among Samburu, and is currently investigating resettlement policies of the Ethiopian government towards agro-pastoral groups in the Omo River valley.

In 2002 and 2003 Elliot Fratkin was a consultant with the World Bank Inspection Panel investigating complaints by indigenous peoples about the building of the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline. In 2003, he was a US Fulbright Scholar teaching at the University of Asmara, Eritrea, and in 2011-2012 he was a US Fulbright Scholar teaching anthropology at Hawassa University in Ethiopia. He has visited pastoral populations in Botswana, Ethiopia, Mali, and Mongolia, and has been a member of the Commission on Nomadic Peoples since 1998, serving as vice-chair from 2009-2013.

Elliot received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, M. Phil. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America (1987). He is the author of Surviving Drought and Development (1991 Westview), African Pastoralist Systems (with Kathleen Galvin and Eric A Roth, 1994 Lynne Rienner Publishers),  Ariaal Pastoralists of Kenya (2004 Allyn and Bacon), As Pastoralists Settle: Social, Health, and Economic Consequences of Pastoral Sedentarization in Kenya(2005 Springer Publishers) and Laibon: An Anthropologist’s Journey with Samburu Diviners in Kenya (2012 AltaMira/Roman Publishers).

Visit Elliot Fratkin's Personal Website