Department(s): Department of Geography
Chair: Development Studies
555 McCone Hall
Michael Watts is currently Class of 1963 Professor of Geography Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for over twenty-five years. He served as the Director of the Institute of International Studies from 1994-2004. Watts’ research has addressed a number of development issues especially food security, rural development, and land reform in Africa, South Asia and Vietnam. Over the last twenty years he has written extensively on the oil industry in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea and on political Islam in the region, is completing a book on the natural and social history of oil in Nigeria entitled “Black Gold: Oil, Nation and Violence in Nigeria.” He has also conducted research in Senegambia, Kerala (India), Vietnam and California on a number of issues pertaining to agrarian change, political Islam, and agro-food systems. The author of 16 books and over 300 articles, he has received a number of awards and fellowships from scholarly organizations including the Social Science Research Council, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Watts was a Guggenheim fellow in 2003, won the Berlin Prize at the American Academy in Berlin and is a member of the British Academy. He has consulted for a number of development agencies including OXFAM, OECD and UNDP and has provided expert testimony for governmental and other agencies. He was educated at University College London and the University of Michigan and has held visiting appointments at the Smithsonian Institution, Bergen, Bologna, and University College London. Watts has served as a consultant to UNDP, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and a number of NGOs. He served on the Board of Advisory of a number of non-profits including Food first and the Pacific Institute and the Social Science Research Council.
His website is: https://geography.berkeley.edu/michael-watts
To read about his most recent Nigerian visit go to: https://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2007/12/06_watts.shtml