Thomas Bassett



  • Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
  • M.A., University of California-Berkeley
  • B.A., English, Tufts University

Thomas Bassett's research centers on the political ecology of agrarian change in West Africa. He earned his Ph.D in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked with Professor Michael Watts.  Dr. Bassett’s longterm research in West Africa grapples with the question of why peasant farmers and herders, despite their access to land and labor, remain vulnerable to food insecurity. His research in Côte d’Ivoire traces the transformation of farming and pastoral systems, their interactions with markets and the state, and the multi-scale political ecological dynamics that produce vulnerability as well as opportunities for reducing it. His recent publications focus on world market prices and cotton grower incomes in West Africa (World Development), the adaptation concept in the climate change literature (Geoforum), and political ecological perspectives on socio-ecological relations (Natures, Sciences et Sociétés). He also writes on the history of maps and mapmaking in Africa with contributions to three volumes of the six-volume The History of Cartography.