Ann Alden Laudati

Department of GeographyUniversity of California / Berkeley


Dr. Ann A. Laudati is a broadly trained human-environmental geographer with specializations in natural resource conflict, war economies, livelihoods and (in)security, conservation and development, political ecology, qualitative field methods, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to receiving SSRC’s Conflict Research Fellowship, she taught as an assistant professor at Utah State University and the University of Bristol in the UK before moving to California to accept a Ciriacy-Wanthrup Research Fellowship where she initiated her current writing project under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Watts. She has received extensive external funding for her research which has spanned multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa including, Uganda, South Sudan, and most recently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo-- the results of which have been widely published and presented in journals and edited books, at international and US based conferences, and through invited talks. Currently based at the University of California, Berkeley, Ann will use the resources available through the SSRC CRF program to present a corrective to current theories and policies that connect natural resources and violence. Drawing on over 16 months of qualitative and survey data collection in Eastern DR Congo since 2009, this project examines how different natural resources and the engagement within these war economies by a diverse set of actors variously shapes the landscape of violence in eastern DRC. In particular, this project argues that the continuing focus on mineral exploitation as a key factor in violent conflicts (and its subsequent role in the cessation of peace) misses important alternative resource economies as well as socio-material relations that may be key to unraveling the persistent violence that continues to plague much of Africa’s most violent spaces. By this assertion, current analyses are incomplete to the degree that they do not differentiate between different types of commodities and the social relations that produce, extract, and circulate them. As a result, interventions based squarely on such mineral determinism or within a purely ‘coltan ore politics’ as has been done in the Congo, will always be flawed as they miss attending to these different resource economies and the social relations inextricably bound to them.

Award Information

Conflict Research Fellowship

Department of GeographyUniversity of California / Berkeley

Accumulating (In) Securities in Eastern DRC: Advancing a revised framework for understanding Congo’s resource wars