Mia Bennett

Assistant Professor
Mia Bennett in the Westman Islands

Contact Information

Office Hours
By appointment


PhD, Geography, University of California, Los Angeles
MPhil, Polar Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
BA, Political Science & European Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
As a political geographer with geospatial skills, Dr. Mia Bennett researches the geopolitics of infrastructure development in two areas commonly thought of as frontiers: the Arctic and orbital space. She traces, maps, and critiques the politics, practices, and cultures of frontier-making from above earth to the depths of Indigenous lands. She does so with respect to three global transformations: Indigenous empowerment, the rise of Asia, and the dawn of satellite observations. To understand discursive and material processes of frontier-making at a range of scales, she employs experimental methods including ethnographic fieldwork, critical remote sensing, visual and discourse analysis, archival research, and geovisualization.
While climate change is often depicted as the most important force reshaping the Arctic, her examinations recenter human actors within northern social and ecological transformations. A common thread throughout her scholarship is a critique of frontier development across terrestrial borders, planetary orbits, and geologic strata, which brings into relief the effects - and limits - of political agency. She shares her work across public and scholarly outlets, including her blog, Cryopolitics, which she has run since 2009, and journals including World Development, Political Geography, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, and Remote Sensing of Environment. Her work has been supported by generous grants from the Fulbright Arctic Initiative, Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies at the University of Heidelberg, Regional Studies Association, National Science Foundation, UW Global Innovation Fund, and International Council for Canadian Studies, among others. Her efforts to make Arctic research accessible and meaningful to wider audiences has been recognized by the Richard Morrill Public Outreach Award from the AAG’s Political Geography Specialty Group.
Bennett previously taught in the Department of Geography and School of Modern Languages & Cultures (China Studies Programme) at the University of Hong Kong.