Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Mara Goldman

Second Advisor

Joe Bryan

Third Advisor

Emily Yeh

Fourth Advisor

Terrance McCabe

Fifth Advisor

Matthew Turner


The world’s rangelands are far from abiding. The movement of livestock and wildlife; effects of erosive agents, including rain and wind; and conversion of arable lands to farms are all factors that relentlessly challenge the tools, technologies, and conventions that cartographers rely upon to mark the rangelands with a myriad of lines. But, conservationists, government officials, scientists, and local communities continue to use mapping practices as techniques to protect, organize, analyze and manage many of the world’s rangelands. In this dissertation, I examine some of the cartographic imaginaries that shape how Western science, rangeland development, and the global conservation community measure and map human, livestock, and wildlife mobilities. In order to carry out this project, I focus on the same landscape but seen through different mapping practices. I begin by focusing on maps, wildlife migrations, and conservation in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem. I then move eastward to Longido district, Tanzania, where varying agendas in land tenure security and conservation have resulted in the promotion of land- use planning in areas where Maasai pastoralist transgress boundaries to maintain their livelihoods. I provide an ethnography of mapping practice to show what happens when rangeland dynamics are overlooked in mapping exercises. Next, I examine technoscientific and mixed- methodological approaches researchers use to capture and analyze livestock mobility as a vital process in rangeland systems. By exploring the emergent geospatial, as well as ethnographic, perspectives that researchers use to capture mobility, I argue for broadening the conceptual scope to mobility, rather than using a narrowing technoscientific lens. Finally, I use a time-enhanced GIS environment to explore the mobility strategies that Maasai pastoralists use to maintain access to water and pasture for livestock; minimize problems of land degradation; and maintain their livelihoods in the face of socio-political change. My overarching goal is not to promote one cartographic vision over another. As stark and uncomfortable as some of the contradictions among chapters may be, my goal is to show how diverse line-making practices and cartographic perspectives produce entirely different imaginaries of the same processes, people, nonhumans, and landscapes.