Jesse Ribot

Director - Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy, Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science
Professor of Natural Res & Env Sci
Faculty of Beckman Institute
Professor of LAS Global Studies
African American Studies
Jewish Culture and Society

User Photo

Contact Information:


Jesse Ribot is a Professor of Geography with appointments in the Department of Anthropology, School of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES), the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Global Studies, Women and Gender in Global Perspective (WGGP), and Institute for Sustainability, Energy and the Environment (iSEE), and is on the faculty of the College of Humanities and Development Studies of China Agricultural University in Beijing. He is also a co-director and co-founder of the Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences (ICARUS).  Before coming to Illinois Ribot was a Senior Associate in the Institutions and Governance program at the World Resources Institute from 1999-08. He has been a visiting professor in Politics at the New School for Social Research in New York, and aor fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Yale Program in Agrarian Studies, Center forthe Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture at Rutgers, and was a MacArthurFellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. From1991-94 he was a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning atMIT. He also advises foreign governments and international developmentagencies.

Research Description

  • Professor Ribot conducts research in four inter-linkedarenas: 1) decentralization and democratic local government; 2) naturalresource tenure and access; 3) distribution along natural resource commoditychains; and 4) household vulnerability in the face of environmental change. Heuses a political-economy approach drawing on disciplines of sociology,anthropology, political science, political philosophy and geography. Hedevelops in-situ research-based education programs, and has used comparativeresearch to train over eighty young scholars in their own countries to conductin-depth policy research and to translate that research into scholarly writingand policy relevant briefs and seminars. For more details on his research seethe attached CV and see the SDEP web page.


Book Contributions

  • Wisner, Ben, Mark Pelling, Adolfo Mascarenhas, Ailsa Holloway, Babacar Ndong, Papa Faye, Jesse Ribot, and David Simon. "Small Cities and Towns in Africa: The Challenge and Opportunity of Climate Change." Urban Vulnerability and Climate Change in Africa. New York: Springer, 2015. 153-196.

  • "Participation Without Representation: Chiefs, Councils and Forestry Law in the West African Sahel." The Participation Reader. London: Zed Books, 2011.

  • "Access over Authority: Recentralizing Benefits in Senegal’s Forestry Decentralization." Politics of Possession. Property, Authority, and Access to Natural Resources. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

  • "Forestry and Democratic Decentralization in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Rough Review." Governing Africa’s Forests in a Globalized World. London: 2009.

  • "Climate Variation, Vulnerability and Sustainable Development in the Semi-Arid Tropics." The Earthscan Reader on Adaptation to Climate Change. London: 2009.

Journal Articles

  • Ribot, Jesse, and Arun Agrawal. "Are Ostrom’s Design Principles Sufficient for Design?." Policy Matters (2014): 111-117.

  • Ribot, Jesse. "Cause and Response: Climate Vulnerability in the Anthropocene." Journal of Peasant Studies 41.5 (2014): 667-705.

  • "Repertoires of Domination: Decentralization as Process in Botswana and Senegal." World Development 39.3 (2011):

  • "Democratic Decentralization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Its contribution to forest management, livelihoods, and enfranchisement." Environmental Conservation 37 (2010):

  • "Access over Authority: Recentralizing Benefits in Senegal’s Forestry Decentralization." Development and Change 40.1 (2009):


  • Ribot, Jesse. "Farce of the Commons: Humor, Irony, and Subordination through a Camera’s Lens." Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy. 2014.


  • "Politics of Misrecognition – Framing out Liability under a Changing Sky." Rev. of Recognitions and Responsibilities: On the Origins and Consequences of the Uneven Attention to Climate Change around the World, comp. Ben Orlove, Heather Lazrus, Grete Hovelsrud, and Alessandra Giannini. Current Anthropology (2014):

Back to Top