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  Creative Notes: 
     °Django Jazz Guitar - Cousin Alex Online Busking
     °Willow TreeFirst of my mother's 3 poetry books
 - soon to be out 
     °My covid poems - Covid Ripped the Covers Off &
Strange New World (with Shivji Response)
     °Bella Ciao sang by Marc Ribot

My current research is on the social and political-economic causes of precarity and social suffering in natural-resource-dependent communities. I explore these problems through case studies of struggles over natural resource access, attempts to establish local democracy, and communities at risk in the face of climate stress. My fieldwork has been in the West African Sahel – mostly in Eastern Senegal. I have also conducted comparative studies across Africa and in Asia and Latin America. I like to recount the findings of my research through books, articles, films, policy briefs, editorials, rhyming stories, sculpture, teaching and lectures. 

I come to this work with a background in physics and linguistics, followed by training in energy and environmental policy, and then in human geography. I have served on faculties of geography, anthropology and environmental studies. I draw mostly on the methods of sociology, anthropology and geography. Since August 2018 I am on the faculty in the School of International Service at American University in DC.  

This web page provides access to my main works.

Eternal thanks to Rodd Myers for designing and setting up this webpage! 




Re-framing the Frame: Cause and Effect in Climate-related Migration

Cottier, Fabien, Marie-Laurence Flahaux, Jesse Ribot, Richard Seager, Godfreyb Ssekajja

World Development


Disempowering Democracy: Local Representation in Community and Carbon Forestry in Africa -- reprinted updated version

Ece, Melis, James Murombedzi, Jesse Ribot



How we frame the climate crisis matters

Lahsen, Myanna and Jesse Ribot

Wire Climate Change



Violent Silence: Erasing History and Justice in Global Climate Negotiations & Action

Kashwan, Prakash and Jesse Ribot

Current History



Violent Silence: Framing out Social Causes of Climate-related Crises

Ribot, Jesse

Journal of Peasant Studies


Politics of Attributing Extreme Events and Disasters to Climate Change

Lahsen, Myanna and Jesse Ribot

WIREs Climate Change


I study decentralization and democratic local government; natural resource tenure and access; distribution along natural resource commodity chains; household vulnerability in the face of climate change; and the relation between causality and responsibility, blame, liability and response.


Through my research I have developed in-situ research-based education programs that I call ‘Higher Education through Comparative Research’. My programs have trained 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.


This page contains recent ongoing and completed research and research-related initiatives. For a full listing of research initiatives and outcomes, see Curriculum Vitae

Guggenheim Project: Cause and Blame in the Anthropocene

How the causes and causal analytics of climate crises become problematic and contested due to their links to responsibility, blame and possible response.

Migration: Local Democracy and Migration Risk in Africa
Migration, Climate and Local Democracy in Africa: Political Representation under a Changing Sky

Local government’s role – the function of political representation – in generating or reducing the current trends in which vulnerable people are migrating out of areas where climate variability is viewed as a driver of outmigration.

ICARUS -- Initiative for Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences
Initiative for Climate Action Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences

Vulnerability and adaptation theory in order to improve understanding of the inter-related concepts of vulnerability and adaptation.



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