Girma Kebbede

Professor of Geography
African environments, economic development, and political conflicts

Kebbede's research and teaching interests are the interrelations between politics and development, human dimensions of environmental change, and socio-economic and political causes and consequences of political conflicts in Africa.

His books in these interests include: The State and Development in Ethiopia and Sudan’s Predicaments: Civil War, Displacement and Ecological Degradation. His forthcoming scholarly publication, The Erosion of Ethiopia’s Natural Capital, deals with the degradation of Ethiopia’s environment and natural resource base.

Kebbede has held a research fellowship at Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University and visiting positions at St. Anslem College (NH), University of Khartoum (Sudan), and Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia). He has twice won Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to Ethiopia.

Kebbede teaches several interdisciplinary courses. His Political Geography is a required course for international relations major and his intermediate-level courses, such as Human Dimensions of Environmental Change, The African Environments, and his upper-level Third World Development seminar course, serve the Environmental Studies major and other cognate disciplines.

In addition to his research and teaching, Kebbede is a member of the International Geographical Union’s Commission on Hazards and Risks.


  • Environment and Society in Ethiopia(Routledge 2017)
  • Farmers in the City: The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2011)
  • Living with Urban Environmental Health Risks: The Case of Ethiopia, Ashgate, 2004.
  • Sudan's Predicament: Civil War, Displacement and Ecological Degradation (1999).
  • The State and Development in Ethiopia, Humanities Press, 1992.
  • The Challenges of Reconstructing Eritrea, GeoJournal 31, 2 (1993): 22-224.
  • The State and Development in Ethiopia, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1992. (see review)
  • The Agonies of Ethiopian Women Refugees in Khartoum, Sudan, GeoJournal 23, 2 (1991): 99-106.
  • The State and Africa's Food Recovery, in A Reader in Peace Studies, edited by Ruth Davies and Barbara Munske, New York and Oxford: Pergamon Press (1990), pp. 119-126.
  • Cycles of Famine in a Country of Plenty: The Case of Ethiopia, GeoJournal 17, 1 (1988): 125-132.
  • Drought and Famine and the Political Economy of Environmental Degradation in Ethiopia, Geography 73, 1 (1988): 65-70. (with Mary Jacob)  
  • State Capitalism and Development: The Case of Ethiopia," The Journal of Developing Areas 22, 1 (1987): 1-24.
  • Urban Growth and the Housing Problem in Ethiopia. Cities 2, 3 (1985): 230-242. (with Mary Jacob).

Review Work

Academic Awards and Fellowships

  • Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship (Ethiopia), 2014-2015
  • Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship (Ethiopia), 2001-2002
  • Ford Foundation Research Fellowship, Cornell University, 1990-1991
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities, 1985

Recent Campus News

This is a group photo of Dean of Faculty Jon Western with professors Jeremy King, Girma Kebbede, Bode Omojola and Amy Frary, and Acting President Sonya Stephens

Excellence awards for outstanding professors

Mount Holyoke professors were presented with awards for their superb teaching and scholarship at the annual recognition ceremony.