Ann Laudati


PH.D. University of Oregon, 2007

Africa; natural resource conflicts; conservation and development; monitoring and evaluation; qualitative fieldwork

563 Mc Cone Hall 

I am a broadly trained human-environmental geographer with specializations in political ecology, conservation and development, and natural resource violence in sub-Saharan Africa. My research centers on the intersection between natural resource use and social welfare, focusing on the implications of global processes on local livelihoods within African communities. Fundamental to my work are questions concerning control over and access to natural resources and the implications for securing local livelihoods.

My doctoral work analyzed the complex and often conflicting nexus between the promotion of local livelihoods and the protection of natural resources within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, I continued my research on natural resource politics and local welfare through an empirically grounded exploration of the extent to which and the process through which rural Sudanese struggle to reclaim access to and control over natural resources existing prior to the civil conflict. My current research program expands upon my previous work linking natural resources and violent conflict by forwarding a comprehensive ‘ecologies of violence’ which explores the role of peripheral economies in the wider social struggles over resources and livelihood in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Eastern territories where I have been conducting ethnographic fieldwork since 2009. In particular, I seek to reveal how the engagement of a diverse set of actors in peripheral economies beyond minerals promote the continuation of and shape Congo’s violent landscape, how they are reflective of and mediated by wider socio-political struggles, and the transformative effects they may offer to peace-building and development in the region. During my tenure here at Berkeley I’ll be teaching for the Geography department while writing a book that presents a more nuanced account of the linkages between natural resources and violence in the DR Congo that critically interrogates its ‘resource curse’.

When I am not teaching, writing, or researching, I can be found rowing on Lake Merritt, lamenting a failed potted herb garden, or over planning an upcoming JMT trip.