Carrie Mott, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Recent Activity

I have a new paper out, Conscientious disengagement and whiteness as a condition of dialogue, and recently was invited by the Geography Graduate Student Union at the University of Kentucky to give a workshop on Critical Pedagogy. It was a three hour workshop held on UK’s campus where we worked through the connection between critical pedagogy and social justice, and how we can meaningfully bring critical pedagogical approaches into our university classrooms as educators.

Current Projects

My current research addresses the connections between settler colonialism and Columbia River Basin reclamation projects in the United States Pacific Northwest. Through looking at the legislation of historical conflicts over property rights and access to water between Native American groups and white settlers, I show how racialized nation-state processes that began in the 18th and early 19th centuries continue to shape access to, and management of, Columbia Basin waterways. This body of work shows that the dispossession of Columbia Basin Native American tribes from their lands and access to rivers is directly tied to explicit federal strategies to facilitate white settlement of the inland Pacific Northwest, in spite of mid-19th century treaties signed to guarantee that Native American groups would have continued access to traditional fishing and hunting grounds and other sites of cultural importance. Through my research, I merge the historical with the contemporary to show how it was possible, in the space of about a century, that the human demographics of the Columbia Basin region shifted dramatically from a place that was majority indigenous to majority white- a process directly tied to state sponsored efforts to irrigate the inland Pacific Northwest, to transport agricultural products through the rivers, and to develop hydro-electric technologies.

My dissertation work was based in Tucson, Arizona and spanned a period of over two years, from 2013-2015. The political intensity of the Arizona borderlands draws activists from all over the US as well as internationally to connect with social justice work in support of migrants, in opposition to the ever intensifying militarization of the border, or in solidarity with indigenous people whose lands have been overrun by Border Patrol surveillance and harassment. My work with Arizona activists examines moments of conflict and collaboration within social justice work, and the ways these moments are shaped by the different positionalities of people involved. Activists often come together because they are motivated by similar aims and intentions. However, despite these common goals, much conflict exists in activist spaces. Quite often this conflict is rooted in the very different positions occupied by activists due to the socialized privileges (or lack thereof) embodied by participants.

I am also very interested in questions of privilege and marginalization at play within the academic discipline of geography. Particularly for geographies that are ostensibly rooted in a ‘critical’ or ‘radical’ approach— my collaborators and I question the ways that this work often reifies the hegemony of idealized white, cis-male, able-bodied authorities in the discipline. Through this body of work, I explore the ways that the mundane processes of academic work, such as citation or research method, constitute a politics in themselves which often serve to elevate the voices of some while marginalizing others.

Research Interests

Political Geography
Historical Geography
Feminist Epistemologies
Race in the United States
Settler Colonialism
The US West


Geog 200 Human Geography in a Changing World
Geog 300 Globalization and Diversity