Leif Brottem
Curriculum Vitae

Leif Brottem

Associate Professor
Department chair of Global Development Studies
Offices, Departments, or Centers: Political Science , Digital Studies , Global Development Studies (GDS) ,


I teach courses in Global Development Studies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My research focuses on the intersection of human security, conflict, and development in West and Central Africa. Current activities engage with local dynamics in conflict-affected communities in Mali, Benin, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I have lived in West African rural communities for three years and consult widely to international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Bank. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I hold a PhD in Geography and an MS in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BA in Political Science from Carleton College. Prior to my graduate studies, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin (2002-2004), worked as a Program Officer at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability in Berkeley CA, and as an environmental policy assistant in the Alaska Governor’s office during the administration of Tony Knowles.

Education and Degrees

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison; BA, Carleton College

Selected Publications

Benin’s Approach to Fighting Jihadists Is Fueling the Cycle of Violence (2023)


Jihad Takes Root in Northern Benin (2022)


The Growing Complexity of Farmer-Herder Conflict in
West and Central Africa (2021)


Women miners shouldn't be seen as victims (2018)


Why extreme poverty still haunts rural Africa (2018)


The 'Anti-Trump' Goes to Mali 

U.S. News / May 18, 2017 

Commentary: women miners shouldn't be seen as victims

Reuters / March 7, 2018 

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