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Fragility and Conflict-Affected States

As we consider the United States in its current state of social and political fragility, what are the parallels with other countries affected by conflict? The label "fragile and conflict-affected state" is typically reserved for countries where governance is viewed by outsiders as hopelessly corrupt and politics are practiced in ways that most Americans would not recognize. Drawing from firsthand experience, I will discuss the important similarities between American politics in 2021 and those in countries such as Mali, Chad, and the Central African Republic. In doing so, I will raise the question about whether worldviews we create for ourselves in the United States are not a convenient form of "othering".

Faculty Member: Leif Brottem
Discussion Date: April 29, 2021 at 1 p.m. CT

Meet Professor Brottem

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.

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Thursday April 29
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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