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Dr Olivia Mason

Assistant Professor

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

I am a cultural political geographer who works interdisciplinarily and joined the department as a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow in September 2023. My work sits across cultural, environmental, and political geography, and is broadly centred on mobility politics and resource colonialism, and to date has mostly been focused on Jordan. I am currently working on an ESRC funded research project looking at the resource politics of nature reserves in Jordan.

Olivia Mason

My current research covers three main areas:

1. Mobility politics

I am interested in the politics of movement, especially how movement is conditioned by situated cultural politics, colonialism, and how it can unearth embodied accounts of territory. My interest in mobility politics has resulted in work exploring the politics of walking and cultural geographies of trail making in Jordan and the infrastructural geopolitics of walking trails across the Middle East. I also have also written about the politics of walking as a method in political geography and the im/mobilities of international fieldwork.

2. Resource colonialism

My research explores historical and contemporary environmental colonialism to challenge dominant, scientific, and universalising Global North knowledge. I am currently leading a project entitled: ‘A cultural politics of nature reserves in Jordan’ that examines the relationships between resource extraction, indigenous rights, and (post)colonialism in nature reserves in Jordan. This research traces the ways that resource scarcity and resource exploitation in Jordan are entangled with (post)colonial nationalist politics, regional geopolitics, and conservation laws rooted in colonialism. As part of this work, I have written about environmental futures in Jordan and how the concept of landscape can be used to understand the current violent socio-ecological epoch.

3. The politics of knowledge production in higher education

My research has explored the production of academic knowledge within an increasingly neoliberalised academic system. This has resulted in work exploring the impacts of casualisation and how neoliberalism is shaping what it means to be a geographer. My interest in how geography is changing as a discipline has also resulted in editorial pieces exploring changing research agendas in political geography.


  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Geography as a vocation? Becoming a geographer under neoliberalism, Mason, O., Megoran, N. 2 Jan 2023, In: Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography
  • Interventions in walking methods in political geography, Mason, O., Sarma, J., Sidaway, J., Bonnett, A., Hubbard, P., Jamil, G., Middleton, J., O'Neill, M., Riding, J., Rose, M. 1 Oct 2023, In: Political Geography
  • Reimagining landscape: Materiality, decoloniality, and creativity, Mason, O., Riding, J. 16 Oct 2023, In: Progress in Human Geography
  • The geographies of colonial infrastructures: Mobility, im/materiality, and politics on walking trails in the Middle East, Mason, O. 1 Sep 2023, In: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
  • A political geography of walking in Jordan: Movement and politics, Mason, O. 1 Jun 2021, In: Political Geography
  • Precarity and dehumanisation in higher education, Mason, O., Megoran, N. 1 Mar 2021, In: Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences
  • Walking the line: lines, embodiment and movement on the Jordan Trail, Mason, O. 2020, In: Cultural Geographies

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