Jesse Ribot

Section 1


Jesse Ribot

Director - Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy, Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science,Center for African Studies,Latin American and Caribbean Studies,School of Earth, Society, and Environment,Natural Res & Env Sci,Criticism and Interpretive Theory,Beckman Institute,LAS Global Studies, and Center for Global Studies

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Jesse Ribot is a Professor of Geography with appointments in the School of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, Women and Gender in Global Perspectives (WGGP), the Beckman Institute, and is Director of the campus-wide Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy Initiative (SDEP). He is also on the faculty of China Agricultural University in Beijing. He is also a co-director and co-founder of the Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences (ICARUS). Before coming to Illinois Ribot was a Senior Associate in the Institutions and Governance program at the World Resources Institute from 1999-08. He has been a visiting professor in Politics at the New School for Social Research in New York, and a or fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Yale Program in Agrarian Studies, Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture at Rutgers, and was a MacArthur Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. From 1991-94 he was a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He also advises foreign governments and international development agencies.

Research Description

  • Professor Ribot conducts research on a) rural representation, b) access to resources and markets, and c) social vulnerability in the developing world. His research focuses on four inter-linked arenas: 1) decentralization and democratic local government; 2) natural resource tenure and access; 3) distribution along natural resource commodity chains; and 4) household vulnerability in the face of environmental change. He uses a political-economy approach drawing on disciplines of sociology, anthropology, political science and geography. He develops in-situ research-based education programs, and has used comparative research to train over eighty young scholars in their own countries to conduct in-depth policy research and to translate that research into scholarly writing and policy-relevant briefs and seminars. For more details on his research see the attached CV and see the SDEP web page.


Book Contributions

  • "Participation Without Representation: Chiefs, Councils and Forestry Law in the West African Sahel." The Participation Reader. . London: Zed Books, 2011.

  • "Access over Authority: Recentralizing Benefits in Senegal’s Forestry Decentralization." Politics of Possession. Property, Authority, and Access to Natural Resources. . London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

  • "Climate Variation, Vulnerability and Sustainable Development in the Semi-Arid Tropics." The Earthscan Reader on Adaptation to Climate Change. . London: 2009.

  • "Forestry and Democratic Decentralization in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Rough Review." Governing Africa’s Forests in a Globalized World. . London: 2009.

Journal Articles

  • "Repertoires of Domination: Decentralization as Process in Botswana and Senegal." World Development 39.3 (2011):
  • "Democratic Decentralization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Its contribution to forest management, livelihoods, and enfranchisement." Environmental Conservation 37 (2010):
  • "Access over Authority: Recentralizing Benefits in Senegal’s Forestry Decentralization." Development and Change 40.1 (2009):