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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Leslie Gray

Leslie Gray

Professor, Department Chair

Ph.D., University of Illinois

Teaching and Research Vision

Leslie Gray is a geographer who teaches classes that emphasize global environment, development and population issues. Her current research considers the environmental and equity dimensions surrounding global cotton production, focusing on how the agricultural subsidies given to farmers in wealthy countries affect poor farmers in West Africa. She has published articles on environmental policy, land degradation, and women's access to resources in Burkina Faso and Sudan. This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright/IIE and the Social Science Research Council. She has also done work for several international organizations, including CARE, Catholic Relief Services, UNDP, ILO and the World Bank.



ENVS 50: World Geography

ENVS 147: International Environment and Development

POLI 146: Politics of African Development



Galt, R. E., Gray, L. C., and Hurley, P. 2014. Subversive and interstitial food spaces: transforming selves, societies, and society–environment relations through urban agriculture and foraging. Local Environment, 19(2), 133-146. 

Gray, Leslie, Patricia Guzman, Kathryn Glowa and Anne Drevno. 2014 Can home gardens scale up into movements for social change? The role of home gardens in providing food security and community change in San Jose, California. Local Environment 19.2: 187-203. 

Gray, L., & Dowd-Uribe, B. 2013. A political ecology of socio-economic differentiation: debt, inputs and liberalization reforms in southwestern Burkina Faso. Journal of Peasant Studies, 40(4), 683-702. 

Gray, Leslie, Joanna Johnson, Nicole Latham, Michelle Tang, and Ann Thomas. 2012.   Critical Reflections on Experiential Learning for Food Justice. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development. Vol 2(3): 137–147,

Tellman, B., Gray, L. C. and Bacon, C.M.. (forthcoming) Not Fair Enough: Historic and Institutional Barriers to Fair Trade Coffee in El Salvador Journal of Latin American Geography.

Gockel, C. Kilbane and L. C. Gray. 2011. Debt-for-Nature Swaps in Action: Two Case Studies in Peru. Ecology and Society 16 (3): 13. [online] URL:

Kilbane, C. and Gray, L. 2009. Integrating Conservation and Development in the Peruvian Amazon. Ecology and Society 14(2):11.

Kevane, M. and Gray, L. 2008. Darfur: Rainfall and Conflict. Environmental Research Letters 3:1-10.

Gray, L., & Moseley, W. 2008. Hanging by a Thread? The Future of Cotton in Africa. In Hanging by a Thread: Cotton, Globalization and Poverty in Africa, Moseley, W., & Gray, Leslie (eds.). Ohio University Press.
Gray, L. 2008. Cotton Production in Burkina Faso: International Rhetoric versus Local Realities. In Hanging by a Thread: Cotton, Globalization and Poverty in Africa, Moseley, W., & Gray, Leslie (eds.). Ohio University Press.

Gray, L. 2005. What Kind of Intensification?: Agricultural Practice, Soil Fertility and Socioeconomic Differentiation in Rural Burkina Faso. Geographical Journal 171(1):70-82.

Gray, L. 2005. Decentralization, Land Policy, and the Politics of Scale in Burkina Faso. In Globalization and Geographies of Conservation, Karl Zimmerer (ed.), Columbia University Press.

Gray, L. and Philippe Morant. 2003. Reconciling Local Perception with Scientific Assessment of Soil Quality Changes in Southern Burkina Faso, Geoderma 111: 425-437.

Gray, L. 2003. Investing in Soil Quality: Farmer Responses to Land Scarcity in Southwestern Burkina Faso, in African Savannas: New Perspectives on the Environment and Social Change, Bassett, T and Crummey, D (eds.). UK: James Curry and USA:  Heinemann.

Gray, L. 2002. Environmental Policy, Land Rights and Conflict: Rethinking Community Natural Resource Management Programs in Burkina Faso. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 20(2): 167-182.

Gray, L. and Kevane, M. 2001. Evolving Tenure Rights and Agricultural Intensification in Southwestern Burkina Faso (with Michael Kevane). World Development 29(4): 573-587. 

Gray, L. 1999. Is Land being Degraded?: A Multi-Scale Examination of Landscape Change in Southwestern Burkina Faso. Land Degradation and Development 10: 329-343.

Gray, L. and Kevane, M. 1999. Diminished Access and Diverted Exclusion: Women and Land in Africa. African Studies Review 42:2:15-39.

Kevane, M. and Gray, L. 1999. A Woman's Field is Made at Night: Gendered Land Rights and Norms in Burkina Faso. Feminist Economics 5(3): 1-27.