Victoria Lawson is a Professor in the Department of Geography, Director of the Honors Program, co-Director of the Relational Poverty Network and Adjunct Professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, at the University of Washington. She is also a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center. Lawson is past president of the Association of American Geographers and former chair of the Department of Geography at UW.
Lawson received her Ph.D. in Geography from the Ohio State University in 1986. Her work draws on relational poverty studies and feminist care ethics to collaborate in building alternative understandings of impoverishment and social alliances to address inequality. Lawson's early research analyzed the social and political effects of austerity programs, gendered migration and informal work in Ecuador. More recent research projects focus on race, place and constructions of rural poverty in the Pacific Northwest and on the forms and potentials of middle class poverty politics across the Americas, including explorations of the possibilities for new poverty politics and alliances. She is the author of numerous articles and three books, including most recently, a volume in progress titled ‘Relational Poverty Politics’ under review at University of Georgia Press.
Lawson’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation, among others. She has received recognition for her research and teaching work, including, most recently, the University of Washington's Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award. Lawson also works closely with graduate students, a graduate research associate who supports the relational poverty network and the Institute for Global Engagement at the University of Washington, Tacoma where she serves as a member of their Community Engagement Board.