"Taking Risks: Oil Frontiers and the Accumulation of Insecurity"
Michael Watts is the Class of 1963 Professor of Geography and Development Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Centennial Professor of International Development at the London School of Economics. His work on vulnerability and resilience, agrarian political economy and other topics continues to shape scholarly debates and research programs.
Watts' work, which is widely cited and taught, focuses on the political, economic and cultural causes and effects of conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, one of the world's largest oil and gas-producing areas.
He is the author of "Silent Violence: Food, Famine and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria" and the editor of "Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta." He is the author of more than 300 articles and essays and is perhaps best known for his field-defining edited volumes, including "Liberation Ecologies" and "Violent Environments."
Beyond academia, he has worked at high levels of international development, corporate governance and statecraft. He has served as chief of party for the United Nations Development Program, worked with the World Bank, arranged workshops on corporate responsibility, and worked with the U.S. Congress and State Department on oil issues.
The William T. Patten Foundation
The William T. Patten Foundation provides funds to bring distinguished scholars or practitioners in the sciences, the humanities and the arts to the Bloomington campus for a week. The foundation has brought over 150 scholars of extraordinary national and international distinction since 1937, making it the oldest lecture series at Indiana University. Lecturers are chosen by a campus-wide faculty committee.
William T. Patten graduated in 1893 with a Bachelor of Arts in history from IU. He then moved to Indianapolis and led a successful career in real estate and politics. He created an endowment for the university in 1931, with the purpose of bringing renowned leaders to the Bloomington campus.