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Life on the Edge – Public Lecture by Prof. Michael Watts

Apr 10, 2019 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Invitation_Public Lecture_10.04.2019

Invitation_Public Lecture_10.04.2019

Michael Watts (UC Berkeley) will examine two forms of “catastrophic environmental events”: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and the serial oil spills (many thousands since 1970) in the Niger Delta, Nigeria which lead the World Wildlife Fund to describe the regions as “the most polluted on the face of the earth”.

These two regions are oil frontiers, and the lecture shows through a close examination of both cases how risk and insecurities accumulate over time making both outcomes almost inevitable, pushing each frontier zone closer to “the edge” of disaster. While the particular dynamics are different in each case, there are striking similarities which turn on the "frontier" natures of the oilfield at two ends of the global system.


Michael Watts is professor emeritus of Geography and Development Studies at the renowned University of California, Berkeley. His research focusses on the political economy of development and in particular on the energy and agro-food sectors in Africa. He also works on contemporary geopolitics and social movements. Michael Watts has published extensively on Nigeria and the Niger Delta.

Time & Location

Apr 10, 2019 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

Freie Universität Berlin,
Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft,
Ihnestr. 21, lecture hall A,
14195 Berlin

Further Information

Contact: Sascha Menig (sascha.menig@fu-berlin.de).