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 and policy expertise include the political economy of development, migration, race, citizenship, conflict, post-war recovery and governance, all with respect to Africa.
Robtel is author of the monograph Development, (Dual) Citizenship and Its Discontents in Africa: The Political Economy of Belonging to Liberia (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press). Her research and writing have also been published in scholarly journals including African Affairs, Migration Studies, Citizenship Studies, Review of African Political Economy, Liberian Studies Journal (LSJ), Humanitas; and edited book volumes including Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics (2019), The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles (2016), Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence (2014), Tales, Tellers and Talemaking: Critical Studies on Literary Stylistics and Narrative Styles in Contemporary African Literature (2010), From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa (2007). She gives presentations at universities across the globe and engages increasingly with policy makers and practitioners through consulting and invited talks.
(2018) “Between Rootedness and Rootlessness: How Sedentarist and Nomadic Metaphysics Simultaneously Challenge and Reinforce (Dual) Citizenship Claims for Liberia.” Migration Studies 6 (3): 400-419.
(2017) “Liberia, Ebola and the Pitfalls of State-building: Reimagining Domestic and Diasporic Public Authority.” African Affairs 116 (465): 648-670.
(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.
(2019) “Women, Equality, and Citizenship in Contemporary Africa” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
(2017) “Silver Lining, Silver Bullet or Neither? Post-War Opportunities and Challenges for Liberian Diasporas in Development” in Liberian Development Conference Anthology: Engendering Collective Action for Advancing Liberia’s Development. Monrovia, Liberia: USAID/Liberia, Embassy of Sweden and University of Liberia: 213-230.
(2016) “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.
(2019) “How Africa Can Adopt a Pan-African Migration and Development Agenda.” Harvard Africa Policy Journal 14: 20-32.
(2018) Resilience in the Face of Adversity: A Comparative Study of Migrants in Crisis Situations. Vienna, Austria: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
(2017) Côte d’Ivoire at a Crossroads: Socio-economic Development Implications of Crisis-induced Returns to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Liberia. Vienna, Austria: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
(2017) Central African Republic at a Crossroads: Socio-economic Development Implications of Crisis-induced Returns to Cameroon and Chad. Vienna, Austria: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
(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 Group.