Amber Murrey is a decolonial political geographer, ethnographer, and educator. Her research on resistance and social change in Africa is empirically grounded and integrates the political geographies of environmental and socio-political struggles with decolonial theory, non-Western epistemologies, and resistance studies in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia.
For the last decade, her work on West and Central Africa has considered the connections between resource extraction (particularly crude oil), environmental justice, and the knowledge-development nexus in contemporary African societies. She has published more than a dozen chapters, articles, and reviews, some of which have featured in the pages of Political Geography, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Third World Quarterly, and more. Murrey has held academic posts at the University of Oxford (UK), Boston College (United States), Jimma University (Ethiopia), and Clark University (United States).
She completed her PhD dissertation, Lifescapes of a Pipedream: A Decolonial Mixtape of Structural Violence & Resistance Along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, at the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford and was the 2014/15 African and African Diaspora Studies Dissertation Write-Up Fellow at Boston College.
Amber has a PhD in Geography and Environment from the University of Oxford and an MA in Pan-African Studies from Syracuse University.
Politics and knowledge; social change; resistance and dissent; gender and development; queering development; post-development, contesting development, and revolution; Pan-Africanism; epistemic violence and political-epistemic assassinations; oil pipelines and the violence(s) of racialized and gendered economic exploitation; the spatial politics of “invisibility” and “disposability”; environmental justice.
Current Book Project
Through a comparative ethnography of two towns along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, Murrey weaves together narratives of violence and resistance with a nuanced attention to local political ecologies. The result is an interdisciplinary work that articulates some of the material and emotional shifts across the lifescapes and landscapes of oil pipelines. She offers a theoretical re-articulation of structural violence as (i) highly visible and tangible through the body; (ii) slowly unfolding and historically compounded; and (iii) spatially compressed in a globalized geopolitical nexus by actors who are spatially nested within a racialized and gendered hierarchy of scale.
This theory of divergent but interrelated and co-existing manifestations of structural violence is attentive to the ways in which people in two towns in Cameroon, Nanga and Kribi, draw upon powerful epistemologies (including la sorcellerie or “witchcraft”) to describe pipeline actors that are otherwise “invisible.” This work emphases the need to move beyond the invisible/visible dichotomy that often informs work on structural violence (including scholar-activist projects). Yet, despite resistance narratives, explicit and collective resistance practices remain uncommon in both communities. As people struggle and live within composite landscapes of structural violence, the particular processes and mechanisms of uneven power influence the tendencies for resistance struggles to be slow, impromptu, and/or labor-based. Emotional geographies of resistance, however, elucidate long-term struggles to survive—what Murrey calls “slow dissent”—including the accumulation of a collective emotional consciousness grounded in an awareness of historical patterns of injustice. The work offers a re-articulation of the theory of structural violence and broadens our understanding of place-based resistance(s) to extraction in Central Africa.
- SOC 3060 - Social Constructions of Difference: Race, Class and Gender
- ANTH/ SOC 3303 - Social Movements
- SOC/POLS 304/3025 - Development Agencies
- SOC 340 – Participatory Action Research in Community Settings
- ANTH/ SOC 460 – Development Studies Seminar
All publications are available via her page on Academia.
Peer Reviewed Articles
- Murrey A and Jackson N (in progress) Corporate ‘localwashing’ of globalized extraction: Race and the politics of ‘local voice’ in the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline.
- Murrey A (in progress) Early-career women geographers: A toolkit of encounters with borders & police states. Accepted for publication in SI on “Early-Career Women in Geography: Practical Pathways to Advancement in the Neoliberal University” Geografiska Annaler B.
- Murrey A (forthcoming) Oromo protests in Ethiopia—An update. The Review of African Political Economy.
- Murrey A and Tesfahun A (2018) Conversations from Jimma, Ethiopia on the geographies and politics of knowledge. SI on “The African University” in Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies.
- Smith T, Murrey A, Leck H (2017) Introduction to SI: ‘What Witchcraft is this?’ Development, magic and spiritual ontologies. Third World Thematics 2(2-3), 141-156.
- Murrey A (2017) Decolonising imagined geographies of “witchcraft”. Third World Thematics 2(2-3), 157-179.
- Murrey A (2016) The emotional geographies of slow resistance. Singapore Journal for Tropical Geography.37(2), 224-248. Winner of Best Annual Graduate Student Article.
- Murrey A (2015) Invisible power, visible dispossession: The witchcraft of a subterranean pipeline. Political Geography 47, 64-76.
- Murrey A (2015) Narratives of life and violence along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline. Human Geography—A New Radical Journal, 8(1), pp. 15-39.
- Elliot-Cooper A, Murrey A, Kumar A, and Younis M (2014) Introduction to SI: Labour and resistance across global spaces. City—Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action 6, 771-775.
- Campbell H and Murrey A (2014) Culture-centric preemptive counterinsurgency and US Africa Command: assessing the role of the US social sciences in military engagements in Africa. Third World Quarterly 35(8), 1457-1475.
- Murrey A (forthcoming, 2020) “Colonialism” in The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Kobayashi A (ed), 2nd Ed. Elsevier.
- Murrey A (forthcoming 2019) “Research & scholarship in Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Egypt” in Women Researching Africa, Jackson R and Kelly M (eds.). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Murrey A (in press) “When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion: anti-racism, decolonial options and theories from the south” in The Handbook of South-South Relations, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Patricia Daley (eds.). London: Routledge.
- Murrey A (in press 2018) “Africa’s Sankara: On Pan-African leadership” in “A certain amount of madness”: The life, politics and legacies of Thomas Sankara, Murrey A (ed.). London: Pluto Press.
- Murrey A (in press 2018) “Introduction” in “A certain amount of madness”: The life, politics and legacies of Thomas Sankara, Murrey A (ed.). London: Pluto Press.
- Murrey A (in press, 2018) “Conclusion” in What and whose justice? African perspectives on transitional justice, Mubangizi O (ed.) Nairobi, Dakar, Oxford: Fahamu Press.
- Murrey A (2017) “A post/decolonial geography beyond ‘the language of the mouth’” in Borders, Borderthinking, Borderland: Developing a Critical Epistemology of Global Politics, Woons M and Weier S (eds.). E-International Relations Publishing, 79-99.
- Murrey A (2015) “Sankara, Thomas (1949-87).” The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Maty S and Ness I (eds.) London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Edited Special Issues
- Smith T, Murrey A, Leck H (2017) ‘What witchcraft is this?’ Development, magic and spiritual ontologies. Co-editor of Special Issue of Third World Thematics 2(2-3).
- Elliot-Cooper A, Murrey A, Kumar A, Younis M (2014) Labour and resistance across global spaces. Co-editor of Special Issue of City—Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action 6.
Commentary and Invited Pieces
- Murrey A (2017) Peer review: what to remember when reading reviewers’ Critiques.’ AuthorAID Blog Network for Scholars in the South.
- Murrey A (2017) Remembering Thomas Sankara—30 years after his assassination. Pambazuka News and The African Exponent.
- Murrey A, Mokhtar H, Daly P, and Bush M (2017) Decolonizing academic praxis with “words that remake life.” Human Geography – A New Radical Journal, Blog.
- Murrey A (August 2016) Writing revolution – the autobiography of Stokely Carmichael. The African Exponent.
- Murrey A, Islam M, Mubangizi O (2016) Reflections on setting forth at dawn: A workshop on the geopolitics and practices of academic writing, Jimma University (Ethiopia) The Review of African Political Economy and POLLEN Blog.
- Murrey A (2016) ‘Our stomachs will make themselves heard’: What Sankara can teach us about food justice today. African Arguments.
- Murrey A (2016) Thomas Sankara: ‘Let us consume only what we ourselves control.’ The Afrikanist 1(1).
- Murrey A (2016) Scholars, activists, & farmers join in Harare to address rural social justice: Report on the Agrarian South-South Summer School. Grain & farmlandgrab.org and Pambazuka, Issue 763.
- Murrey A (2014) Burkina Faso’s Revolution. Ceasefire Magazine.
- Murrey A (2014) Burkina Faso: ‘Get out Blaise! Sankara lives!’ Green Left Weekly.
- Murrey A (2014) Geographies of resistance. Ceasefire Magazine.
- Murrey A (2014) Travelling to the UK? On the pain, separation and dehumanisation of student families from ‘high risk’ countries. Politics in Spires: Cambridge-Oxford Politics.
- Murrey A (2014) Walter Rodney’s legacy. Ceasefire Magazine.
- Murrey A (2012) Thoughts on 30 years of Biya power in Cameroon. Pambazuka, Issue 605.
- Murrey A (2012) Le rap mboa: Conversations on Cameroonian rap and politics. Politics in Spires: Cambridge-Oxford Politics.
- Murrey A (2012) The revolution and the emancipation of women: A reflection on Sankara’s speech, 25 years later. Pambazuka, Issue 590.
- Murrey A (2012) The political-economic roots of haggling in Dakar, Senegal. Politics in Spires: Cambridge Oxford Politics.
- Murrey A (2012) Slackers and saviours: Kony 2012. Politics in Spires: Cambridge-Oxford Politics.
- Murrey A (2012) US military finances research on rape in DR Congo. Politics in Spires: Cambridge Oxford Politics.
- Murrey A (2011) Connections between the hydrocarbon scramble and U.S. troop deployment in Uganda? Politics in Spires: Cambridge-Oxford Politics.
Panelist on the BBC World News program, The Forum—Discussion on Thomas Sankara: Africa’s Revolutionary President, December 2017.
Awards and Fellowships
- Higgins Faculty Fellowship, The Council on an Uncertain Human Future and The New Commons Initiative, Clark University, Spring 2017
- Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography Best Graduate Student Paper, 2016
- Dissertation Write-Up Fellowship, African and African Diaspora Studies, Boston College, 2014-2015
- Clarendon Fellowship, University of Oxford, 2011-2014
- Bowers Fund Award, Jesus College, University of Oxford, 2014
- Antipode Foundation Institute for the Geographies of Justice, 2013
- Ann Ward Fund, Jesus College, University of Oxford, 2012
- Charles Green Award, University of Oxford, 2012
- Marke and Pearle Clements Award, Syracuse University, 2010