Political ecology expert Michael Watts to present Indiana University Patten Lectures

  • Feb. 21, 2017


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Michael Watts, a widely cited expert on political ecology, environmental justice, famine and the relationship of oil and gas production with development, will present the final Indiana University Patten Lectures of 2016-17 next week.

Watts is the Class of 1963 Professor of Geography and Development Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Centennial Professor of International Development at the London School of Economics. His work on vulnerability and resilience, agrarian political economy and other topics continues to shape scholarly debates and research programs.

His Patten Lectures will be:

Watts' work, which is widely cited and taught, focuses on the political, economic and cultural causes and effects of conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, one of the world's largest oil and gas-producing areas.

He is the author of "Silent Violence: Food, Famine and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria" and the editor of "Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta." He is the author of more than 300 articles and essays and is perhaps best known for his field-defining edited volumes, including "Liberation Ecologies" and "Violent Environments."

Beyond academia, he has worked at high levels of international development, corporate governance and statecraft. He has served as chief of party for the United Nations Development Program, worked with the World Bank, arranged workshops on corporate responsibility, and worked with the U.S. Congress and State Department on oil issues.

The William T. Patten Foundation

The William T. Patten Foundation, endowed by a student of the Indiana University class of 1893, provides generous funds to bring to the Bloomington campus for a week people of extraordinary national and international distinction in the sciences, humanities and arts. Past lecturers have included Oscar Arias, Jorge Luis Borges, Wendell Berry, Noam Chomsky, Natalie Zemon Davis, Umberto Eco, Werner Herzog, Julian S. Huxley, Evelyn Fox Keller, Toni Morrison, Martha Nussbaum and Amos Oz.

Inquiries about the Patten Foundation, the Patten Lecture Series and future nominations may be directed to vpfaa@indiana.edu.

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Indermohan Virk

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  • William T. Patten Foundation
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  • ivirk@indiana.edu