Leif Brottem
Curriculum Vitae

Leif Brottem

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


I teach courses in Global Development Studies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My research focuses on the intersection of democratic decentralization and climate change adaptation in agrarian West Africa. I’m also interested in West African emigrant communities in Europe, North America, and, increasingly, China. 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

In the News

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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