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Prof Katherine Homewood
  • Professor of Human Ecology
  • Dept of Anthropology
  • Faculty of S&HS

I studied Zoology at Oxford and gained my PhD in Anthropology at the University of  London. After working at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, I joined UCL in 1980 as lecturer and Tutor in Human Sciences, an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree. I am now Professor of Human Ecology in Anthropology at UCL. The Human Ecology Research Group I convene integrates natural and social sciences approaches to interactions of conservation and development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and I edited a volume of HERG research (Local Livelihoods And Rural Resources in Africa (James Currey 2005). I work primarily on the interaction of conservation and development in pastoralist systems in East Africa, focusing on the implications of environmental policies and practice for people's livelihoods and welfare, and on the implications of people's resource use for biodiversity. I publish in both natural and social sciences journals and recently produced Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies (James Currey and Ohio UP, 2008) and the co-edited volume Staying Maasai: Livelihoods, conservation and development in East African rangelands (Springer 2009). I have directed several European Union- and DFID-funded  international collaborative research programmes in East and West Africa and supervised around 30 PhD students working mainly in a range of African countries but also in Latin America and Central Asia. 

Research Summary

I work on the interaction of conservation and development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and with a special focus on pastoralist peoples in drylands, among other groups and ecosystems. I research the implications of natural resource policies and management for local people's livelihoods and welfare, and the implications of changing land use for environment and biodiversity. I convene the Human Ecology Research Group which brings together staff and postgraduates working on environment and development issues.

My research explores the interactions of conservation policy and practice with rural livelihoods in less developed countries, and focuses particularly on ecosystem ecology, household economy and livelihoods diversification in East African rangelands. Two current projects are at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best; and  http://www.iccs.org.uk/measuring-complex-outcomes-of-environment-and-development-interventions/The research programmes I have led, and the PhDs (and Masters) I have supervised, have developed methodologies for in-depth qualitative and quantitative study of change in rural livelihoods and of the impacts of conservation interventions for biodiversity and for local people. In particular, the Human Ecology Research Group I set up and lead has made a name for innovative and rigorous integration of natural and social sciences approaches and was recognised in RAE2008 as being of top international quality. 

Current work contributes to building HERG's work in environment and development generally as well as contributing to the new Department-, Faculty- and UCL-wide interest in sustainability. This work has clear and direct impact through its implications for and demonstrable adoption into policy and practice by UK and other donor governments, international agencies, and also LDC governments and NGOs.

Teaching Summary

My teaching experience in Human Sciences and Anthropology,together with my research, have made me particularly interested in integrating social and physical aspects of these topics. I enjoy both lecturing and tutorial teaching and my first and second year options each consistently attract large numbers of students from Anthropology, as well as Human Sciences, Zoology, Geography and other departments. I have developed a number of new courses at UCL, including for example the Human Sciences Seminar course, and Masters courses in human ecology and on resource use and impacts.

1. ANTH7008 Man and animals: Undergraduate course for students from Anthropology, Biology, Geography, Human Sciences, Economics and elsewhere

2. ANTHGE02 Ecology of Human Groups: This Masters’ course introduces the ecology of four different types of rural production system in less developed countries: Gathering/hunting societies,farmers, pastoralists and fishers.  It combines social and natural sciences approaches to the study of rural populations in deveoping countries. Starting with rather separate bodies of knowledge the course aims to integrate insights and perspectives from the different disciplines as the course goes along.

3. ANTHGE05 Resource Use and Impacts: This Masters’ course uses an 
interdisciplinary approach to the interface between ecology, economics and
 culture. It gives an overview of current
 approaches to environmental issues in less developed countries, focusing on case
 studies of actual developing country situations and patterns of change, with an emphasis on practical dimensions of current debates 
and implications for management and development. By investigating how 
impacts of resource use are measured and interventions planned, and by 
critically assessing research design and method, students learn theoretical ideas and practical skills required for their own research projects. Topics covered 
include: Local ecological knowledge and practice vs western science and 
management models in drylands, forests and other ecosystems in the context of
 climate change; political ecology, natural resource use and management,
 conservation and sustainability; poverty and livelihoods. Conceptualizing,
 measuring and analyzing resource use behaviour, environmental impacts and
 implications for human welfare.

4. The Human Ecology Research Group is an interdisciplinary forum where postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff from social and natural sciences meet to discuss research design and methods around issues in environment and development in the course of weekly  work in progress and roundtable meetings. 20-30 PGR students and staff including research-rated AED Masters', Human Ecology MPhils and PhDs, 5 staff and visiting contributors/ participants all present and discuss their work. HERG has become a supportive group fostering design and successful completion of numerous research projects and theses

5. ANTH GS04 Anthropology Postgraduate Research Methods – contributing lecturer

Academic Background
1976 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Anthropology University College London
1971 BA Bachelor of Arts – Zoology University of Oxford
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