olivier walther 20182

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida (UF). At UF, I am also an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for African Studies and a Faculty Member at the Sahel Research Group. My current research focuses on cross-border trade and transnational political violence in West Africa. Using social network analysis, I study how borders affect the social networks and spatial patterns of West African traders and violent extremist organizations.

I have conducted fieldwork in Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Mauritania and Ghana. Before coming to Florida, I held faculty appointments at the University of Southern Denmark and Rutgers University and worked as a researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research. I received a joint Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and the University of Rouen in France (2006).

Crossing borders is something that I have done a lot over the years. Born in Switzerland, I spent part of my youth in West Africa, did fieldwork in Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Benin and Mauritania, and worked as a professor and international consultant in Luxembourg, New Jersey and Denmark, before joining the University of Florida.

A geographer by training, I also enjoy crossing disciplinary boundaries. Over the last years, I have worked with historians, economists and political scientists at Rutgers, Northeastern, Hunter CollegeQueen’s, Bordeaux 3, and Uni.lu. I am currently the coordinator of the OECD West Africa research program at the University of Florida.

I am the Africa Editor of the Journal of Borderlands Studies (JBS), a “chief” of the African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE) and on the advisory board of the African Governance and Space (AFRIGOS) project. I am also on the editorial board of Connections, the journal of the International Network for Social Network Analysis.

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Click here for a pdf version of my CV.