Prof. Katherine Brickell

Professor of Human Geography and Research Lead for the Dept of Geography

About Prof. Brickell...

Feminist-oriented research cross-cuts social, political, development, urban and legal geography to understand experiences of precarious home and working lives.

Prof. Brickell is editor of the journal Gender, Place and Culture and is former Chair of the RGS-IBG Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group. She has (co)-written over 50 journal articles in geography (e.g. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Progress in Human Geography, Antipode, and Annals of the American Association of Geographers), international development (The Journal of Development Studies, Progress in Development Studies), women’s studies (Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society), and anthropology (Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology). In recognition of research excellence, Katherine was conferred the Gill Memorial Award by the Royal Geographical Society (2014) and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2016).

Research themes

Home and home unmaking
Katherine has a longstanding interest in the domestic sphere and home unmaking. Her research and writing aims to reaffirm and reprioritise the home as a political entity and process which is foundational to the concerns of human geography. Katherine’s monograph Home SOS: Gender, Violence and Survival in Crisis Ordinary Cambodia brings together 15 years of research on domestic violence and forced eviction into twin view to pursue this. Since 2017 she has undertaken new collaborative work in London and Dublin (with Mel Nowicki and Ella Harris) to understand residents’ experiences of living in modular housing newly-built by local authorities turning to prefabrication as a (contested) means of addressing housing shortages for homeless families in London and Dublin. She has co-written two reports on this research, Temporary Homes, Permanent Progress? Resident Experiences of PLACE/Ladywell (2019) and Home at Last? Life in Dublin’s Rapid Build Housing (2018). 

Katherine has published multiple co-edited collections which speak to these connected interests in home unmaking, urban displacement, and (im)mobilities. These include Translocal Geographies (2011 with Ayona Datta), Geographies of Forced Eviction (2017 with Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia and Alex Vasudevan), and The Handbook of Displacement (2020 with her departmental colleagues). 

Labour precarity
Katherine has led two research projects in Cambodia funded by the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. Blood Bricks (2016-2019) studied the negative impacts of climate change and other political economy factors in compelling the out-migration of rural families to live and work in brick kilns. She is currently Principal Investigator of two UKRI GCRF projects: the first which is taking a gendered lens to explore the relationship between climate resilience, credit-taking, and nutrition in Cambodia and South India; and the second, the ReFashion study which has adopted a longitudinal methodology to understand the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for 200 Cambodian garment workers.

Feminist legal geographies
Katherine led a 3 year study on Cambodia’s first-ever domestic violence law (2012-2015). Building from this, Katherine developed new thinking on ‘feminist legal geographies’ and ‘feminist geolegality’ (with Dana Cuomo), key outputs being a Progress in Human Geography (2019) paper and special issue of Environment and Planning A (2019). Having acted as an expert witness on the basis of her expertise in Cambodia, she also initiated a collaboration with Alex Jeffrey and Fiona McConnell to study how geographical research is being used to shape law and legal proceedings. A special issue of Area on ‘Practising Legal Geography’ was published in 2021.

Recent Publications

‘Worn out’: Debt discipline, hunger, and the gendered contingencies of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst Cambodian garment workers
Brickell, K., Lawreniuk, S., McCarthy, L., Chhom, T. & So, H., 18 Nov 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Social and Cultural Geography .Article › peer-review

Challenging the Financial Inclusion-Decent Work Nexus: Evidence from Cambodia’s Over-indebted Internal Migrants
Natarajan, N., Brickell, K., Guermond, V., Lawreniuk, S. & Parsons, L., 5 Oct 2021, In: Global Public Policy and Governance. 1, p. 361–381Article › peer-review

‘Everyday Droning’: Towards a Feminist Geopolitics of the Drone-Home
Jackman, A. & Brickell, K., 7 Jun 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Progress in Human Geography.Article › peer-review

Practising legal geography
Brickell, K., Jeffrey, A. & McConnell, F., 27 May 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Area.Article › peer-review

Debt, (Un)Freedom, and Development: Lessons from Contemporary Asia
Brickell, K., Bylander, M., Natarajan, N., Parsons, L. & Yoeh, B., 15 Feb 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Geoforum.Article › peer-review

Choosing to be unfree? Aspirations and constraints among debt-bonded brick workers in Cambodia
Natarajan, N., Brickell, K. & Parsons, L., 2021, Beyond the Wage: Ordinary Work in Diverse Economies. Bristol University PressChapter

Credit, land and survival-work in rural Cambodia: rethinking rural autonomy through a feminist lens
Natarajan, N. & Brickell, K., 2021, (Submitted) In: Journal of Agrarian Change.Article › peer-review

Global Precarity Chains and the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Cambodia’s Garment Workers
Brickell, K., Chhom, T., Lawreniuk, S. & So, H., 2021, (Accepted/In press) COVID-19 in Southeast Asia: Insights for a Post-Pandemic World. Shin, H. B., Mackenzie, M. & Oh, D. Y. (eds.). LSE BooksChapter

Compounding crises of social reproduction: Microfinance, over-indebtedness and the COVID-19 pandemic
Brickell, K., Picchioni, F., Natarajan, N., Guermond, V., Parsons, L., Zanello, G. & Bateman, M., Dec 2020, In: World Development. 136, p. 1-4, 105087.Article › peer-review

Diffuse Drivers of Modern Slavery: From Microfinance to Unfree Labour in Cambodia
Natarajan, N., Brickell, K. & Parsons, L., 3 Nov 2020, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Development and Change. p. 1-24Article › peer-review

Door Locks, Wall Stickers, Fireplaces: Assemblage Theory and Home (Un)Making in Lewisham’s Temporary Accommodation
Harris, E., Brickell, K. & Nowicki, M., Sep 2020, In: Antipode. 52, 5, p. 1286-1309Article › peer-review

Event(ful) Spaces of Organised Legal Encounter: Reflections from a Client Consultation Competition on Domestic Violence Law in Cambodia
Brickell, K., 8 Aug 2020, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Area. p. 1-9Article › peer-review

Home SOS: Gender, Violence and Survival in Crisis Ordinary Cambodia
Brickell, K., Jul 2020, Wiley-Blackwell.Book

Discardscapes of Fashion: Commodity Biography, Patch Geographies, and Preconsumer Garment Waste in Cambodia
Crang, P., Brickell, K., Parsons, L., Natarajan, N., Cristofoletti, T. & Graham, N., 4 Jun 2020, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Social and Cultural Geography . p. 1-20Article › peer-review

The Spirit in the Machine: Towards a Spiritual Geography of Debt Bondage and Labour (Im)mobility in Cambodian Brick Kilns
Parsons, L. & Brickell, K., 20 May 2020, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. p. 1-15Article › peer-review

(De)stigmatising architectures of brick-clad modular housing: Resident experiences of Dublin’s ‘Rapid Build’ scheme
Brickell, K., Nowicki, M. & Harris, E., 2020, (Submitted) In: Housing Studies.Article › peer-review

Constructing the Southeast Asian Ascent: Global vertical urbanisms of brick and sand
Jamieson, W., Brickell, K., Parsons, L. & Natarajan, N., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Thinking Global Urbanism: Essays on the City and its Future . McFarlane, C. & Lancione, M. (eds.). RoutledgeChapter

Flower Power: Khmer Women’s Protests Against Displacement in Cambodia and the United States
Brickell, K., 2020, The Handbook of Displacement . Adey, P., Bowstead, J., Brickell, K., Desai, V., Dolton, M., Pinkerton, A. & Siddiqi, A. (eds.). Palgrave, p. 541-547Chapter

Gendered and Feminist Approaches to Displacement
Brickell, K. & Speer, J., 2020, The Handbook of Displacement. Adey, P., Bowstead, J., Brickell, K., Dolton, M., Desai, V., Pinkerton, A. & Siddiqi, A. (eds.). Palgrave, p. 131-141Chapter

Geographies of Violence: Feminist Geopolitical Approaches
Brickell, K. & Cuomo, D., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Routledge International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies: Edited by Anindita Datta, Peter Hopkins, Lynda Johnston, Elizabeth Olson and Jose Titles. RoutledgeChapter

Introduction to Displacement Studies: Knowledges, Concepts, Practices
Adey, P., Bowstead, J., Brickell, K., Desai, V., Dolton, M., Pinkerton, A. & Siddiqi, A., 2020, The Handbook of Displacement. Adey, P., Bowstead, J., Brickell, K., Desai, V., Dolton, M., Pinkerton, A. & Siddiqi, A. (eds.). Palgrave, p. 1-37Chapter

The Handbook of Displacement
Adey, P., Bowstead, J., Brickell, K., Desai, V., Dolton, M., Pinkerton, A. & Siddiqi, A., 2020, Palgrave Macmillan.Anthology