Bilal Butt

Associate Professor


Bilal Butt, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and a faculty affiliate of the African Studies Center. His research is concerned with the political ecology of pastoralism and protected areas in East Africa. He places a large emphasis on empirical fieldwork to understand the lived geographies of the interactions between pastoralists and wildlife in ecologically diverse regions. He combines various geospatial technologies (such as putting GPS units on cows) with historical and ecological dynamics of dryland environments to understand how people, wildlife and livestock are coping with and adapting to changes in climate and politics. He is also interested in the ways that scientific and technical appraisals of rangeland 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, particular around wildlife poaching, land grabs and green energy. Dr. Butt is an NSF Career Award winner and 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.