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About Dr Martin Evans

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.


  • GE5007 Challenges of Development (Module Leader)
  • GE5010 Geomatics and Research Design / GE5013/14 Researcher Development (Research Design Strand Co-Leader)
  • GE6004 Development in Practice (Module Leader)
  • GE6018 Excluded Peoples? Migrants and Refugees (Module Co-leader)


I have been conducting research on political, economic and social 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’, human displacement, the livelihoods of local people affected by violence, the rebel movement, the cross-border dynamics of the conflict, 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.

My current project focuses on paddy rice cultivation in Casamance 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 and bolster food security have had mixed success, partly because claims about what should work tend to be driven from the top by policy discourse, rather than from the bottom by understanding of smallholder farming systems and the rural economy.

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, in a context of climate change, social change and ongoing political unrest.

Published Work

Journal articles

Evans, M. (under review) ‘Displacement in Casamance, Senegal: lessons (hopefully) learned, 2000–2018’. Canadian Journal of African Studies, special issue on ‘Refuge-seeking in Africa’.

Evans, M. (in preparation) ‘Tackling the hard middle: global changes, technocratic interventions and social realities in paddy rice farming, Senegal’.

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

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

Evans, M. (2007) ‘“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.


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. (2017) ‘Revisiting tropes of environmental and social change in Casamance, Senegal’. In Højbjerg, C., Knörr, J. and Murphy, W. (eds) Politics and policies in Upper Guinea Coast societies: change and continuity: 169-186. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Evans, M. (2017) ‘Disarmament and demobilisation’. In Morley, S., Corteen, K., Turner, J. and Taylor, P. (eds) A companion to state power, rights and liberties: 63-65. 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. (2007) ‘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.


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