Robtel’s intellectual pursuits marry her passion for non-mainstream approaches to development with African affairs. She has conducted multi-sited fieldwork across three continents, including in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Denmark, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, the UK and US. Her core areas of research expertise include development, migration, citizenship, diasporas, transnationalism, conflict, post-war recovery, governance, and the political economy of aid, trade and remittances.
Robtel’s research and writing have appeared in the 2016 book The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles; the 2014 book Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence; the 2010 African literature reader Tales, Tellers and Talemaking: Critical Studies on Literary Stylistics and Narrative Styles in Contemporary African Literature; the 2007 book From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa; and scholarly journals including African Affairs, Review of African Political Economy, Citizenship Studies, Liberian Studies Journal (LSJ), and Humanitas. She presents her research at universities across the globe and engages increasingly with policy makers and practitioners through consulting and invited talks.
(forthcoming) "Between Rootedness and Rootlessness: How Sedentarist and Nomadic Metaphysics Simultaneously Challenge and Reinforce (Dual) Citizenship Claims for Liberia." Migration Studies.
(2017) “Liberia, Ebola and the Pitfalls of State-building: Reimagining Domestic and Diasporic Public Authority.” African Affairs.
(2017) "Liberia's Run-up to 2017: Continuity and Change in a Long History of Electoral Politics.” Review of African Political Economy 44 (152): 322-335.
(2016) “Birthplace, Bloodline and Beyond: How ‘Liberian Citizenship’ Is Currently Constructed in Liberia and Abroad.” Citizenship Studies 20 (6-7): 811-829.
(2016) “Diaspora Humanitarianism: The Invisibility of a Third Humanitarian Domain” in Zeynep Sezgin and Dennis Dijkzeul (eds.) The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles. London, UK and New York, New York: Routledge: 213-231.
(2014) “Patriarchy, Power Distance, and Female Presidency in Liberia” in Baba G. Jallow (ed.) Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan: 169-187.
(2016) Migrants in Countries in Crisis: A Comparative Study of Six Crisis Situations, Emerging Findings. Vienna, Austria: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
(2016) Women’s Resilience: Integrating Gender in the Response to Ebola. Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: African Development Bank.