School for Environment and Sustainability
African Studies Center
Bilal Butt is an Associate Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. His research is concerned with understanding the drivers and effects of violent conflicts over natural resources. He places a large emphasis on empirical fieldwork to understand the lived geographies of the interactions between people and the environment in ecologically heterogeneous regions. He combines various geospatial technologies with historical and ecological dynamics of dryland environments to understand how differential power relations between agencies, states, and other actors come together to influence the etiology of resource conflicts. He is also interested in the ways that scientific and technical appraisals of indigenous peoples and environments have misread the landscape, leading to orientalist approaches to development programs. He has also had a long history of engagement on questions of environmental conflicts, particularly around wildlife poaching, land grabs, and green energy. Dr. Butt received the National Science Foundations Career Award and is a recipient of the Superior Teaching Award from the University of Michigan. He has published in diverse journals such as the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Remote Sensing of Environment, Journal of Applied Ecology and Humanity. He teaches courses on Conservation and Development, Political Ecology, Environmental Security and Conflict, Environmental Governance, and Preparing for International Fieldwork.