SDEP Directory


Photo of Jesse Ribot

Jesse Ribot, SDEP Director
Profile | | 217-333-1293

Jesse Ribot joined SESE and the Department of Geography as an Associate Professor in November 2008. Professor Ribot is leading the Strategic Initiative, Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy (SDEP).


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Thomas Bassett, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-244-3200

Tom Bassett is Professor in the Department of Geography. He conducts research on environmental change, farming systems, and land rights in West Africa. Tom co-directs the SDEP Program on Climate and Society.

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Trevor Birkenholtz, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | 217-244-5901

Trevor Birkenholtz is Associate Professor of Geography. He is a cultural and political ecologist, and a development geographer. His work links the political economy of access to and control over environmental resources, and ecological change, to issues of technology, knowledge and social power more typical of research in science and technology studies.

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Brian Dill, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-1950

Brian Dill is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. His research analyzes the dynamic boundary between state and society in twentieth-century Africa. Brian co-directs the SDEP Program on Democracy and Environment.

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Paolo Gardoni, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-5103

Paolo Gardoni is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research interests include sustainable and resilient infrastructure; reliability, risk and life cycle analysis; ethical, social, and legal dimensions of risk; policies for natural hazard mitigation and disaster recovery; and engineering ethics.

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Zsuzsa Gille, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-1316

Zsuzsa Gille is Associate Professor of Sociology. Her field of study includes Environmental Sociology, Sociology of Knowledge, Globalization, Cultural Studies, and Eastern Europe.

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Lauren Goodlad, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-2391

Lauren Goodlad is Professor of English. Her work focuses on Victorian literature and culture; gothic genres; critical, feminist, postcolonial and political theory; cultural studies; and literature in relation to contemporary understandings of liberalism, globalization, internationalism, and development.

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Jamie L. Jones, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-2391

Jamie Jones is Assistant Professor of English. Her research in the environmental humanities traces the cultural logics of resource extraction and consumption in the United States across the nineteenth century.

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Daniel Miller, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-244-3896

Daniel Miller is Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. His conducts research on the conservation and development impacts of international aid in tropical countries and the political factors that shape those impacts.

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Faranak Miraftab, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-265-8238

Faranak Miraftab is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning. Her research focuses on the global and local development processes and contingencies involved in the formation of the city and citizens' struggles to access dignified livelihood.

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Colleen Murphy, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-2889

Colleen Murphy is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program. Her research focuses on the ethical dimensions of risks from natural disasters and climate change.

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Matthew Winters, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-333-3881

Matthew Winters is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. His research focuses on the political economy of development and globalization, specifically on interactions between international and national institutions in the pursuit of development objectives and the ways in which these interactions lead to particular development outcomes.

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Gillen D'Arcy Wood, Affiliate Faculty
Profile | | 217-244-1477

Gillen D'Arcy Wood is Professor of English and Director of Sustainability Studies in the Humanities. His research revolves around romanticism, sustainability, climate change, and environmental history and discourse.

Visiting Scholars

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John-Michael Davis, Visiting SDEP Scholar August 2017 - August 2018

John-Michael Davis is a SSHRC-funded postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Geography. His postdoctoral research extends an ongoing action-research project on the Israeli-Palestinian transboundary e-waste industry, with a focus on exploring ways to sustain livelihoods, build capacity, and gain representation of an informal e-waste hub in Hebron. John-Michael has a MSc in Integrated Water Resources Management from McGill University and a PhD in Geography from Memorial University.

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Yingcheng Liu, Visiting SDEP Scholar August 2017 - January 2019

Yingcheng Liu is a PhD student from the College of Resources and Environmental Sciences at the China Agricultural University. His dissertation research explores the links between land use intensity and sustainable natural resource management, with a focus on smallholders in the fragile ecological areas of Inner Mongolia in China. Yingcheng has a Master's degree in human geography.

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Teresia Olemako, Visiting SDEP Scholar September 2016 - August 2017

Teresia Olemako researches energy access and women's entrepreneurship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with a focus on designing reliable energy solutions for women micro-entrepreneurs through improved cooking stoves. Teresia is also part of a University of Illinois interdisciplinary research team examining water delivery, sanitation and resource management in refugee settlements and host communities in Uganda. Teresia has a PhD from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania.

Past Affiliates, Fellows and Visiting Scholars

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Bernadette Montanari, Visiting SDEP Scholar September 2015 - September 2017

Dr. Bernadette Montanari is an ethnobiologist and ethnobotanist. Her work focuses on top-down governance guidelines, community development through social enterprise and traditional ecological knowledge. She will spend two years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a year at the International Institute of Social Sciences in the Netherlands when returning to Europe.

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Andrew Bauer, Former Affiliate Faculty

Andrew Bauer was formerly Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology but is now on the faculty at Stanford University. He is an archaeologist whose research focuses on human-environment interactions and the politics of spaces, places, and landscape histories.

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Sitti Rahbiah Busaeri, Visiting SDEP Scholar September 2015 - December 2015

Sitti Rahbiah Busaeri is a lecturer in the Department of Social Economics (Faculty of Agriculture) at the Indonesian Muslim University and a doctoral student in Agricultural Sciences at Hasanuddin University in Indonesia. Her research focuses on the dynamics of livelihood patterns under complex governance in Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Parks of South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia. She is interested in the interconnections and contestations among stakeholders as they shape forest livelihoods.

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Jacques Pollini, Visiting SDEP Scholar August 2012 - September 2015

Jacques Pollini joined SDEP in August 2012. Jacques completed a PhD in Natural Resources at Cornell University and studies agrarian changes in forest frontiers, with special emphasis on decentralized resource management, REDD+, the political ecology of sustainable land uses, and the resilience of peasant societies. View Jacques' publications here and here.

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Yuanyuan Xie, Visiting SDEP Scholar September 2014 - August 2015

Dr. Yuanyuan Xie is a Lecturer at the College of Humanities and Development in China Agricultural University in Beijing and a Post-Doctoral Researcher of Ecology in the same institution. She has a PhD in Anthropology from Beijing University. From September 2008 to August 2009, Dr. Xie was a visiting scholar at the University of Oslo in Norway. Her research interests include migration, natural resource management and local knowledge.

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Emmanuel O. Nuesiri, Postdoctoral Research Associate 2012 - January 2015

Emmanuel O. Nuesiri is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI) of SDEP and the Department of Geography. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of Oxford. His doctoral dissertation was on the political ecology of decentralized forest management in Cameroon. His current research interests are in the areas of democratic decentralization of natural resources management, and climate justice.

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Papa Faye, SDEP Postdoctoral Fellow October 2014 - July 2015

Papa Faye has been working with Jesse Ribot and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) since 2004. In 2007, he graduated with a PhD in Rural Sociology from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. Upon his graduation, he lectured and continued research on forest governance including local democracy, pluralism, and constitutionality. In 2011, he obtained a full scholarship from the Centre for Development and Environment in Bern. He recently earned a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Bern.

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April Colette, Beckman Graduate Fellow, August 2013-August 2014.

April Colette was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science. She is conducting research on vulnerability in the face of flooding in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina. Her research examines how people understand climate-related vulnerability and risk, the factors that influence their understandings, and how their understandings influence the context in which citizens and the state respond to risk.

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Josephine Yameogo, Visiting SDEP Scholar August 2014 - September 2014

Dr. Josephine Nadinga Yameogo is a researcher at the Environmental and Agricultural Research Institute (INERA) in Burkina Faso's National Centre for Scientific and Technological Research (CNRST). Her research centers on agroforestry, climate change, natural resource management, and environmental protection. Dr. Yameogo has served as quality control expert in the areas of Agroforestry/Forestry/Environment/Gender with the U.S. Department of State's Millenium Challenge Account - Burkina Faso. She has been collaborating with Dr. Ribot since 2010.

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James Murombedzi, Visiting SDEP Scholar August 2013 - May 2014

Dr. James Murombedzi, from Zimbabwe, is the Coordinator of RFGI, based at CODESRIA in Dakar. Dr. Murombedzi has wide-ranging experience in natural resource governance and has worked in various capacities and contexts across sub-Saharan Africa. His academic and professional work has focused on the political economy of rural development, environmental governance, and the development of strong and independent civil societies. His research focus has been on the micro-political dynamics of natural resource governance. Dr. Murombedzi is researching the impacts of the global political economy on relationships between the state and sub-national institutions in forest governance in Africa.

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Yuxin Yang, Visiting SDEP Doctoral Student August 2013 - May 2014

Yuxin Yang is a PhD student from the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His main research interests have been the links between social vulnerability and physical vulnerability in urban contexts with a particular emphasis on the impact of disastrous events. While spending the 2013-2014 academic year with SDEP as a visiting scholar, Yuan was advised by SDEP Director Jesse Ribot and continued researching urban vulnerability.

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Lingchao Li, Visiting SDEP Doctoral Student

Lingchao Li was a visiting PhD student with SDEP from August 30, 2012 through August 29, 2013. He is a doctoral student of Agricultural and Rural Development School of Renmin University of China. He obtained his Master and Bachelor's degree in agricultural economy and mathematics in 2011 and 2008 respectively. His current research interests are in areas of forest transition, forestry policy and globalization.

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Malini Ranganathan, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow

Malini Ranganathan was a post-doctoral research associate in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy strategic initiative. She has a PhD from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at the University of California, Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies.

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John Ben Soileau, Beckman Graduate Fellow 2012 - 2013.

John Ben Soileau is a PhD student in the cultural anthropology program. His research interests are broadly related to environmental governance and the commodification of natural resources in Brazilian Amazonia. As a 2012-13 Beckman graduate fellow he completed a research project about the Belo Monte mega dam on the Xingu River in Pará, Brazil, focusing on how dam resistance campaigns provide participatory space for the contestation of technocratic environmental policy-making. Currently he works with riverine Quilombo communities on the banks of the Amazon River in Brazil, examining the environmental dimensions of "multi-cultural" policies and the political economy of natural resource management.

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Yuting Zhou, Visiting SDEP Doctoral Student

Yuting Zhou is a PhD candidate of China Agricultural University's College of Humanity and Development. Ms. Zhou has a theoretical and methodological background in development studies with a focus on smallholders in developing countries. Her dissertation research focuses on agro-biodiversity in Southwest China and peasant adaptation to climate change. In particular, she is interested in how and to what extent agro-biodiversity can help smallholders to adapt to climate or environment change. Her main research interests include peasants' responses to climate or environment change, and utilization of agro-biodiversity in rural areas.

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Zuo Ting, Visiting SDEP Scholar August 2012

Zuo Ting is Deputy Dean and Professor at China Agricultural University's College of Humanities and Development Studies. Zuo Ting is extensively trained in social and environmental sciences and natural resource management. He has worked for more than 20 years in rural development, and environment, forestry and natural resources with focus on community participation in Yunnan Province, China, and in neighboring SEA countries.

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Jeremy Brooks, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow 2009 - 2011.

Jeremy Brooks was a SDEP postdoctoral research fellow from December 2009 to December 2011. He has a BS in Biology from Trinity College, CT and a PhD in Human Ecology from the University of California, Davis. Jeremy has conducted field research in Bhutan to explore the relationships between economic development, environmental values and conservation at multiple scales.

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Yanli Liu, Visiting SDEP Scholar May 2011 - December 2011

Yanli Liu is an associate professor in the College of Humanity and Development of China Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing. Dr. Liu is an Economic Geographer with a research focuses on rural development policies in China.

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Chen Li, Visiting SDEP Doctoral StudentAugust 2010 - September 2011

Chen Li is a Ph.D candidate majoring in rural development and management in the College of Humanities and Development at China Agricultural University in Beijing. In 2007, she received her bachelor of management from the China Agricultural University in rural regional development. Based on a strong interest in rural development, she began graduate study in September, 2007. In the past seven years, she has been involved in several development projects implemented in China. Her research interests include farmer innovation, climate change, adaptation, vulnerability, natural resource management, discourse, rural energy and development studies.

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Hou Jing, Visiting SDEP Doctoral Student September 2009 - September 2010

Hou Jing was a visiting doctoral student from China Agricultural University. She obtained her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in sociology, and completed her Ph.D. in Rural Development and Management in China Agricultural University in 2011. Hou Jing has studied rural development in China, with a focus on rural livelihoods and natural resource management by farmers. The purpose of her research at Illinois was to investigate the “life world” of peasants in Hebei Province, China to understand the logic and characteristics of behaviors exhibited in the process of livelihoods decision-making.