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Prof. em. Michael Watts

Michael Watts
Image Credit: STEPS Centre, CC BY-NC 2.0

University of California, Berkeley, USA

GLOCON Fellow (2018-2019)

Michael Watts is Professor emeritus of Geography and Development Studies at the renowned University of California, Berkeley, USA. His research focusses on the political economy of development and in particular on the energy and agro-food sectors in Africa. Watts is a leading scholar in the field of political ecology, with a focus on resource conflicts. He has been doing research in Nigeria for decades. Nigeria constitutes an important case of conflicts over the distribution of profits from oil extraction in the south as well as conflicts between pastoralists and peasants in the north. At the beginning of his career, Watts focused on the vulnerability of peasant communities to famine, which resulted in his pioneering book Silent Violence: Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria. More recently, his focus has been on the impact of oil extraction in the Niger delta in Nigeria. Watts also works on contemporary geopolitics and social movements.