Todd Graham Smith, J.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Todd Smith

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Public Policy, University of Texas at Austin, 2015
  • M.P.Aff., Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, 2009
  • J.D., Emory University, 1994
  • B.A., Political Science, David Lipscomb University, 1991


Todd G. Smith received his Ph.D. in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. His dissertation examined the causal link between rising food prices and political protest in Africa, specifically South Africa.

Smith's other research interests are in poverty reduction, sustainable development, climate change adaptation, natural resource management, food security and African politics.

He served as as a research assistant at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law on the Climate Change and African Political Stability project and the Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia project. In that capacity, he served as the deputy director of a project that studied urban resilience to climate change challenges in 10 African cities. He has authored or coauthored several reports and articles on these subjects and presented at numerous international conferences and workshops. His most recent publications include an article the Journal of Peace Research titled "Feeding Unrest: Disentangling the Causal Relationship between Food Price Shocks and Sociopolitical Conflict in Urban Africa" and an article in Political Geography titled "Climate Security Vulnerability in Africa Mapping 3.0" co-authored with Joshua W. Busby and Nisha Krishnan.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Lipscomb University in Nashville, a law degree from Emory University in Atlanta, and a Master of Public Affairs from University of Texas at Austin.

He also has traveled extensively in throughout Africa and has worked for Doctors Without Borders in Ethiopia, Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre in South Africa, and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Uganda.

Research Interest

  • Poverty reduction
  • Sustainable development
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Food security
  • African politics


  • Smith, Todd Graham. (2014) "Feeding Unrest: Disentangling the Causal Relationship between Food Price Shocks and Sociopolitical Conflict in Urban Africa." Journal of Peace Research 51(6): 679-95. doi:10.1177/0022343314543722.
  • Busby, Joshua W., Todd G. Smith, and Nisha Krishnan. (2014) "Climate Security Vulnerability in Africa Mapping 3.0." Political Geography, Special Issue: Climate Change and Conflict, 43: 51-67. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2014.10.005.
  • Busby, Joshua W, Todd G Smith, Kaiba L White, and Shawn M Strange. (2013) "Climate change and insecurity: Mapping vulnerability in Africa." International Security 37(4): 132-172.