Dr Martin Evans

Senior Lecturer in International Development

My interests are in rural political and economic geographies in the developing world, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa where I conduct most of my field research and with a focus on livelihoods and on conflict/post-conflict situations. I am also interested in social research methods, particularly their application in politically sensitive contexts.

Qualifications

BSc (Bristol), MA (London), PhD (London), PGCert (Chester)

Professional affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the African Studies Association of the UK, Royal African Society and of the Canadian Association of African Studies; 

Editor (Geography subject area) of the Canadian Journal of African Studies

 

Teaching

  • GE6001 Dissertation (Module Leader)
  • GE6002 Independent Project (Module Leader)
  • GE6018 Excluded Peoples? Migrants and Refugees (Module Co-leader)
  • GE5007 Challenges of Development (Module Leader)
  • GE5013/14 Researcher Development (Social Strand Leader)
  • GE5010 Geomatics and Research Design / GE5013/14 Researcher Development (Research Design Strand Co-Leader)

Research

My current research concerns the relationships between agro-ecological dynamics, social change and development interventions. This focuses on paddy rice cultivation in Senegal and speaks to broader debates about climate change, food security and the rural economy.

I have been conducting research on economic and political aspects of conflict and ‘post-conflict’ reconstruction for nearly two decades, focusing on the separatist rebellion in Casamance, southern Senegal. These studies have covered diverse issues including the region’s ‘war economies’, the cross-border dynamics of the conflict, the livelihoods of local people affected by violence, the rebel movement, and the relationships between international aid, insecurity and local politics in the reconstruction process. I have also researched the role of migrant associations in local development in Cameroon and Tanzania. While my work has therefore considered mobile populations of various kinds (migrants, refugees, IDPs and returnees), my interests lie primarily with those who stay behind, particularly in rural areas.

My current project focuses on paddy rice cultivation in Casamance, Senegal as a case study for analysing the complex relationships between agro-ecological dynamics, social change and development interventions. Attempts by government and international agencies/NGOs to upscale rice production have had mixed success, partly because claims about what should work tend to be driven from the top by policy discourse (driven in turn by global concerns about climate change and food security) rather than from the bottom by understanding of smallholder farming systems.

Published work

Journal articles

Evans, M. (2010) ‘Primary patriotism, shifting identity: hometown associations in Manyu division, South West Cameroon’. Africa 80(3): 397-425.

Evans, M. (2009a) ‘Flexibility in return, reconstruction and livelihoods in displaced villages in Casamance, Senegal’. GeoJournal 74(6): 507-524.

Evans, M. (2007a) ‘“The suffering is too great”: urban internally displaced persons in the Casamance conflict, Senegal’. Journal of Refugee Studies 20(1): 60-85.

Evans, M. (2005) ‘Insecurity or isolation? Natural resources and livelihoods in Lower Casamance’. Canadian Journal of African Studies 39(2): 282-312.

Evans, M. (2000) ‘Briefing: Senegal: Wade and the Casamance dossier’. African Affairs 99(397): 649-658.

Evans, M. and Mohieldeen, Y. (2002) ‘Environmental change and livelihood strategies: the case of Lake Chad’. Geography 87(1): 3-13.

Mercer, C., Page, B. and Evans, M. (2009) ‘Unsettling connections: transnational networks, development and African home associations’. Global Networks 9(2): 141-161.

Page, B., Evans, M. and Mercer, C. (2010) ‘Revisiting the politics of belonging in Cameroon’. Africa 80(3): 345-370.

Page, B., Mercer, C. and Evans, M. (2009) ‘Introduction: African transnationalisms and diaspora networks’. Global Networks 9(2): 137-140.

Book

Mercer, C., Page, B. and Evans, M. (2008) Development and the African diaspora: place and the politics of home. London: Zed Books.

Book chapters/contributions

Evans, M. (2016a) ‘Revisiting tropes of environmental and social change in Casamance, Senegal’. In Knörr, J., Højbjerg, C. and Murphy, W. (eds) Politics and policies in Upper Guinea Coast societies: change and continuity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Evans, M. (2016b) ‘Disarmament and demobilisation’. In Morley, S., Corteen, K., Turner, J. and Taylor, P. (eds) A companion to state power, rights and liberties. Bristol: Policy Press.

Evans, M. (2014) ‘Contested spaces, new opportunities: displacement, return and the rural economy in Casamance, Senegal’. In Hammar, A. (ed.) Displacement economies: paradoxes of crisis and creativity in African contexts: 57-78. London: Zed Books.

Evans, M. (2013) ‘Historiographies, nationalisms and conflict in Casamance, Senegal’. In Griffiths, C. (ed.) Contesting historical divides in Francophone Africa: 93-119. Chester: University of Chester Press.

Evans, M. (2007b) ‘Military organizations: guerrilla forces’. In Middleton, J. and Miller, J.C. (eds) New Encyclopedia of Africa vol. 3: 555-559. Farmington Hills MI: Scribner.

Evans, M. and Ray, C. (2013) ‘Uncertain ground: The Gambia and the Casamance conflict’. In Saine, A., Ceesay, E. and Sall, E. (eds) State and society in The Gambia since independence: 247-287. Trenton NJ: Africa World Press.

Perfect, D. and Evans, M. (2013) ‘Trouble with the neighbours? Contemporary constructions and colonial legacies in relations between Senegal and The Gambia’. In Griffiths, C. (ed.) Contesting historical divides in francophone Africa: 59-91. Chester: University of Chester Press.

Briefing papers and reports

Evans, M. (2004a) Senegal: Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (MFDC). Africa Programme Armed Non-State Actors Project Briefing Paper no. 2. London: Chatham House.

Evans, M. (2004b) Urban and rural change in sub-Saharan Africa: an annotated bibliography. Unpublished consultancy output. London: Department for International Development.

Evans, M. (2003a) ‘Ni paix ni guerre: the political economy of low-level conflict in the Casamance’. In Collinson, S. (ed.) Power, livelihoods and conflict: case studies in political economy analysis for humanitarian action. Humanitarian Policy Group Report no. 13: 37-52. London: Overseas Development Institute.

Collinson, S. (with Bhatia, M., Evans, M., Fanthorpe, R., Goodhand, J. and Jackson, S.) (2002) Politically informed humanitarian programming: using a political economy approach. Humanitarian Practice Network Paper no. 41. London: Overseas Development Institute.

Conference papers:

Canadian Association of African Studies annual conference, University of Calgary, June 2016: ‘Tackling the hard middle: global changes, technocratic interventions and social realities in paddy rice farming, Senegal’; also a member of the Canadian Journal of African Studies editors’ panel and chaired panel on ‘Development and growth in postcolonial Africa’.

African Studies Association of the UK biennial conference, University of Sussex, September 2014: Co-organised panel on ‘Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia: reconsidering the ‘triangular relationship’; panel included own paper ‘Reading history backwards: migration, drought and social change in Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau’.

5th European Conference on African Studies, University of Lisbon, June 2013:

‘“History will prove us right”: reflections from fieldwork on a small but long war’.

African Studies Association of the UK biennial conference, University of Leeds, September 2012: ‘Historiographies, nationalisms and conflict in Casamance, Senegal’.

Integration and Conflict along the Upper Guinea Coast biennial conference, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, September 2012:

‘Revisiting narratives of environmental and social change in Casamance, Senegal’.

4th European Conference on African Studies, Uppsala University, June 2011:

‘Contested spaces, new opportunities: displacement, return and the rural economy in Casamance, Senegal’.

Coventry University, Department of International Studies and Social Science, March 2011: ‘Contested spaces: conflict, international aid and political restructuring in Senegal’s southern borderlands’.

University of Chester, Francophone Africa Research Colloquium, September 2010:

‘Trouble with the neighbours? Contemporary constructions and colonial legacies in relations between Senegal and The Gambia’ (with David Perfect).

Canadian Association of African Studies annual conference, Carleton University, Ottawa, May 2010: ‘A forgotten corner in a forgotten war? Insecurity, international aid and political space in Middle Casamance, Senegal’.

Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, ‘Displacement economies’ workshop, April 2010:

‘New places, new opportunities: displacement, return and the rural economy in Casamance, Senegal’.

Drexel University, Department of Culture and Communication, Philadelphia, May 2008:

‘“New war” or a mirror on our times? Some reflections on contemporary conflict studies’.

Canadian Association of African Studies annual conference, University of Alberta, May 2008:

‘The spatialities of return, reconstruction and livelihoods in displaced villages in Casamance, Senegal’.

University College London, Department of Geography, September 2007:

Chaired workshop on ‘New perspectives on policy options for development by African diaspora groups’.

2nd European Conference on African Studies, African Studies Centre, Leiden, July 2007:

Co-chaired panel on ‘Transnational spaces/cosmopolitan times: African associations in Europe’; panel included paper by Claire Mercer, Ben Page and self ‘Loose connections: African home associations in Britain’.

Canadian Association of African Studies annual conference, University of Toronto, May 2007: Co-organised panel on ‘Rights, struggles and associational form among new African diasporas’; panel included own paper ‘Struggles with absence: methodological reflections on research among Cameroonian and Tanzanian diasporas in the UK’.

University of Leicester, Department of Geography, May 2007:

Co-organised and co-chaired workshop on ‘Reconceptualizing diaspora and African hometown associations’; workshop included paper by Ben Page, Claire Mercer and self ‘Three conclusions from a study of four hometown associations in two countries’.

Association of American Geographers annual meeting, San Francisco, April 2007:

‘Flexibility in return, reconstruction and livelihoods in displaced villages in Casamance, Senegal’.

University of Bradford, ‘Community driven development and local actors’ workshop, June 2006: ‘“Developing home?” Some methodological reflections’.

Canadian Association of African Studies annual conference, Montreal, April 2006:

‘Primary patriotism and multiple identities: hometown associations in Manyu division, South West Cameroon’.

Chatham House, Africa Programme, Armed Non-State Actors Project, December 2004:

‘Senegal: Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance’.

King’s College London, CICERO workshop, Department of Geography, September 2004:

‘Environmental change, conflict and livelihoods in the Lower Casamance, Senegal’.