Amber joined the School of Geography and the Environment in September 2018, having previously held academic positions at the American University in Cairo, Clark University in Massachusetts and Jimma University in Ethiopia. Prior to this, she was the Dissertation Write-Up Fellowship in African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College.
Amber 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 and resistance studies. For the last decade, her work has considered the connections between resource extraction (particularly crude oil), social change 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 Annals of American Geographers, Political Geography, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Third World Quarterly, Review of African Political Economy and more. She is the editor of 'A Certain Amount of Madness': The Life, Politics and Legacies of Thomas Sankara (2018).
A full list of her publications is available at oxford.academia.edu/AmberMurrey
As a decolonial political geographer, Amber has four interrelated research concentrations:
- Decolonial geographies of violence, extraction and resistance in Central and West Africa
- Anti-racist Black and African geographies, decolonising international development and the politics of decolonising knowledge in, from and with the South
- The role of the social scientist in social change (particularly in capitalist extraction and post-extraction), as well as tensions in intellectual practices and knowledge paradigms
- Decolonising methodologies and decolonial futures, including experimental and experiential ways of knowing, filmmaking, narrative and creative writing.
Her research on oil violence, politics and resistance in Central Africa was awarded a 2019 Oxford Inspiration Award and her book on the topic, Slow Dissent, Fast Capitalism: A Decolonial Mixtape of the Afterlives of Extraction in Central Africa, is in progress. This work is an ethnographic analysis of the epistemic and infrastructural violence that both preceded and accompanied the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline. Her research seeks to contribute to the on-going project of opening the sub-discipline of political geography to non-Euro-American epistemological orderings of place and power by asserting the centrality of Cameroonian epistemologies of la sorcellerie (witchcraft) for considerations of resource extraction. She frames her ethnographic project as a 'decolonial mixtape' as a means to bring attention to creative practice as integral to knowledge politics. As part of this work, she collaborated with a team of Cameroonian filmmakers and musicians, including Christian Soumalek of the Cameroonian hip-hop reggae group, Sumanja, and the Cameroonian filmmaker Gizo Fokwang, to produce a 45-minute ethnographic documentary and is currently working with comedians to produce a film on humour and environmental justice in Cameroon. She has recently received funding through The John Fell Fund to expand her work on the geographies of resistance and repression in Cameroon.
Amber is writing a co-authored book (with Dr Nicholas Jackson), Extraction and the Social Scientist: Power, Politics and Agency Between the Scholar and the Corporation, about the various roles that social scientists perform within the rapid and protracted timelines of extraction. Through a political economy that draws on the geographies and anthropologies of corporate entities and scholarship on the geo- and political-politics of 'expert' knowledge within international development and extractive logics in areas of Africa and Asia, the book interrogates the fluctuating roles and influences of social scientists in the logistical, cultural, and economical administration of extractive projects.
Her edited book, 'A Certain Amount of Madness': The Life, Legacies and Politics of Thomas Sankara (2018, Pluto Press) looked at the Pan-African political and ecological legacies of the former President of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. This is the first book-length consideration of the significance of Sankara's political thought and praxis in English. The book has been featured on African politics reading lists and in the popular media, including on the BBC World News programme, The Forum. Amber was invited to speak about the importance of teaching Sankara's visions for a decolonised international political economy at Oxford's historic 2020 Rhodes Must Fall Freedom Summer.
Amber's work is shaped by a decolonial impetus and conviction that scholarship be active, engaged, accessible and decolonising. A central component of her work has been meaningful North-South engagement and collaboration, and she has collaborated on a number of projects with artists, activists and scholars in Ethiopia, Egypt, Cameroon and South Africa, including films and workshops. In 2015, she coordinated a five-day transdisciplinary workshop Setting Forth At Dawn: A Workshop on the Geopolitics and Practices of Academic Working at Jimma University, Ethiopia. In 2017, she organised a two-day workspace funded by the journal Human Geography on decolonising academic writing and teaching through creative expression, Decolonizing Communicative Praxis with "Words That Remake Life" at Clark University, US. She is the recipient of a 2020 British Academy Writing Workshop Grant which will fund two collaborative projects in support of Early Career Researchers working on critical and decolonised political economy in Yaoundé, Cameroon and Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
At Mansfield College and the School of Geography and the Environment, Amber has developed coursework for geography undergraduates that looks at non-Western epistemologies, extraction and critical development, decolonial thought, decolonising research methodologies and more. Along with Professor Patricia Daley, she convenes an FHS option on "Critical Development Geographies". Her tutorials and teaching occasionally move beyond the classroom to include more experiential and experimental forms of learning. She has incorporated walking tours of the city of Oxford, for example, to encourage students to consider the histories of imperialism through the architecture and spatiality of the city and the university. In 2020, she collaborated with Dr Ash Parton to host a 'Geographical Food Journey' that culminated in a multisensory, blindfolded food theatre for undergraduate students. The final event was curated by a food justice organisation, Community Centred Knowledge
Amber delivers modules on Extraction and Capitalism, Race and Nature for Nature and Society and Decolonising Research Methods and Decolonial, Postcolonial and Subaltern Geographies for Research Methods as part of the MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance. She teaches Decolonising Conservation for the MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management.
Amber and her colleagues, Dr Steven Puttick (Education, Oxford) and Dr Nokuthula Hlabangane (Anthropology, The University of South Africa), were awarded a 2020 Oxford Teaching Development and Enhancement Project Award for the development of a collaborative and innovative digital postgraduate course, Decolonising Research Methods in the Social Sciences. The project seeks to develop creative solutions for an integrated approach to challenge knowledge inequalities and nurture critical engagement through a 6-week co-taught course. The project seeks to contribute to conversations on the logistics of decolonising content, decolonising pedagogy and decolonising North-South knowledge divisions through an inclusive and interactive digital space in which students build, challenge and apply knowledge of the rich scholarship on decolonising research methods in the social sciences.
Amber welcomes enquiries from students wishing to undertake doctoral or post-doctoral research in the following, or related, areas: decolonial political geography and/or decolonial political ecology; anti-racist geographies and work on race in Africa; contestations of resource extraction and environmental justice; geopolitics of knowledge, epistemic (in)justice and social change; geographies of resistance and dissent; queering development, post-development and contesting development; and Pan-Africanism and/or non-western political geographies.
- Daley, P. and Murrey, A. (2022) Coloniality in African Geographies - Author Response to Commentaries. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 43(2).
- Daley, P. and Murrey, A. (2022) Defiant scholarship: Dismantling coloniality in contemporary African geographies. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 43(2).
- Hughes, S., Murrey, A., et al. (2022) Interventions in the Political Geographies of Resistance: The Contributions of Cindi Katz, 15 years on. Political Geography, 99.
- Murrey, A. (2020) Between Appropriation and Assassination: Pedagogical Disobedience in an Era of Unfinished Decolonisation. International Journal of Social Economics, 26(11): 1319-1334.
- Murrey, A. and Jackson, N. (2020) A decolonial critique of the racialized "localwashing" of extraction in Central Africa. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 110(3): 917-940.
- Puttick, S. and Murrey, A. (2020) Confronting the Silence on Race in Geography Education in England: Learning from Anti-Racist, Decolonial and Black Geographies. Geography, 106(1): 126-134.
- Murrey, A. (2019) Slow dissent and permanent counter-revolution in Africa. Review of African Political Economy, 45(158): 609-677. In Bujra, J., Mgumia, J., Zeilig, L., Shivji, I., Swagler, M., Hopfmann, A., Zack-Williams, T., Murrey, A., Gachihi, G., Nyamsenda, S., Chachage, C. and Mbilinyi, M. Connections 2: Roape Workshop in Dar es Salaam, 16–17 April 2018.
- Murrey, A. and Tesfahun, A. (2018) Conversations from Jimma, Ethiopia on the geographies and politics of knowledge. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 40(2): 27-45.
- Murrey, A. (2017) Decolonising the imagined geographies of 'witchcraft'. Third World Thematics, 2(2-3): 157-179.
- Smith, T., Murrey, A. and Leck, H. (2017) 'What kind of witchcraft is this?' Development, magic and spiritual ontologies. Third World Thematics, 2(2-3): 141-156.
- Murrey, A. (2016) Slow dissent and the emotional geographies of 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): 15-39.
- 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.
- Elliott-Cooper, A., Murrey, A., Kumar, A. and Younis, M. (2014) Labour and resistance across global spaces: Introduction. City - analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 18(6): 771-775.
Special / Edited Collections
- Smith, T., Murrey, A. and Leck, H. (2017) 'What witchcraft is this?' Development, magic and spiritual ontologies. Third World Thematics, 2(2-3).
- Elliot-Cooper, A., Murrey, A., Kumar, A. and Younis, M. (2014) Special Feature 3: Labour Pains: Resistance Across Global Spaces. City - Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 18(6).
- Murrey, A. and Jackson, N. (forthcoming) Africa and the resource curse idea. In, Falola, T. and Mbah, E. (eds.) Routledge Encyclopaedia of African Studies. Routledge, London.
- Murrey, A. (2021) Pedagogical Disobedience in an Era of Unfinished Decolonisation. In, Boucher, D. (ed.) Decolonisation: Evolution and Revolution. Wits University Press, Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Murrey, A. and Mollet, S. (2021) A Decolonial Feminist Dialogue-as-Critique: Against the Sexual and Racialised Violence at the Heart of Extractivism. In, Elodie Behzadi, N. and Postar, S. (eds.) Extraction/Exclusion. Rowman and Littlefield, London.
- Murrey, A. (2020) Colonialism. In, Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M.F., Kobayashi, A.L., Liu, W. and Marston, R. (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography: People, the Earth and Technology, 2nd Ed. Elsevier. pp. 315-326.
- Murrey, A. (2020) Thomas Sankara and the political economy of happiness. In, Falola, T. and Oloruntoba, S. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy. Palgrave MacMillan, London. pp. 193-208.
- Murrey, A. (2019) Constant questioning on-and-off the page: Race, decolonial ethics and women researching in Africa. In, Jackson, R. and Kelly, M. (eds.) Women Researching in Africa. Palgrave MacMillan, London.
- Murrey, A. (2019) When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion: anti-racism, decolonial options and theories from the south. In, Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Daley, P. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations. Routledge, London. pp. 59-75.
- Murrey, A. (2018) Africa’s Sankara: On Pan-African leadership. In, Murrey, A. (ed.) “A certain amount of madness”: The life, politics and legacies of Thomas Sankara. Pluto Press, London.
- Murrey, A. (2018) Conclusion. In, Mubangizi, O. (ed.) What and whose justice? African perspectives on transitional justice. Fahamu Press, Nairobi, Dakar, Oxford.
- Murrey, A. (2018) Introduction. In, Murrey, A. (ed.) “A certain amount of madness”: The life, politics and legacies of Thomas Sankara. Pluto Press, London.
- Murrey, A. (2017) A post/decolonial geography beyond 'the language of the mouth'. In, Woons, M. and Weier, S. (eds.) Borders, Border Thinking, Borderland: Developing a Critical Epistemology of Global Politics. E-International Relations Publishing. pp. 79-99.
- Murrey, A. (2015) Sankara, Thomas (1949-87). In, Ness, I. and Cope, Z. (eds.) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York.
- Murrey, A., Puttick, S. and Farhana, S. (2020) Digitising Critical Pedagogies in Higher Education During COVID-19. Coronatimes.
- Murrey, A. and Jackson, N. (2018) The Lives and Afterlives of Thomas Sankara. Pluto Press Blog.
- Murrey, A. and Phaswana, E. (2018) Reflections on Toyin Falola @65 Conference at University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Review of African Political Economy Blog.
- 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., Daley, P. and Bush, M. (2017) Decolonizing academic praxis with "words that remake life". Human Geography - A New Radical Journal, Blog.
- Murrey, A. (2016) "Our stomachs will make themselves heard": What Sankara can teach us about food justice today. African Arguments.
- Murrey, A. (2016) Scholars, activists and farmers join in Harare to address rural social justice. farmlandgrab.org.
- Murrey, A. (2016) Thomas Sankara: 'Let us consume only what we ourselves control.'. The Afrikanist, 1(1).
- Murrey, A. (2016) Writing revolution - the autobiography of Stokely Carmichael. The African Exponent.
- Murrey, A., Islam, M. and 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. (2014) African Study Classics - Walter Rodney. Africa in Words.
- Murrey, A. (2014) Burkina Faso: 'Get out Blaise! Sankara lives!'. Green Left Weekly.
- Murrey, A. (2014) Geographies of Resistance: Neoliberal Violence and Crisis. Ceasefire Magazine.
- Murrey, A. (2014) Le Président. The Postcolonialist, June 2014.
- Murrey, A. (2014) Pan-African Classics: Walter Rodney’s Legacy. 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) “Blaise Dégage! Sankara Vit!”: Burkina Faso’s Revolution. Ceasefire Magazine.
- Murrey, A. (2012) Le rap mboa: Conversations on Cameroonian rap and politics. Politics in Spires: Cambridge-Oxford Politics.
- Murrey, A. (2012) Slackers and saviours: Kony 2012. Politics in Spires: Cambridge-Oxford Politics.
- Murrey, A. (2012) The political-economic roots of haggling in Dakar. 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, 590.
- Murrey, A. (2012) Thoughts on 30 years of Biya power in Cameroon. Pambazuka, 605.
- 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.
- Murrey, A. (2019) Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas by Ibram X. Kendi. New York: Nation Books, 2016. Human Geography - A New Radical Journal, 11(3): 92-100.
- Murrey, A. (2017) Leonard, Lori (2016) Life in the Time of Oil: A Pipeline and Poverty in Chad. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(2): 419-420.
- Murrey, A. (2016) Hannah Appel, Arthur Mason and Michael Watts (eds) Subterranean Estates: Life Worlds of Oil and Gas, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-8014-5344-1 (cloth); ISBN: 978-0-8014-7986-1. Antipode, 48(2).
- Murrey, A. (2015) Review "Concerning violence." Directed by Göran Olsson. Produced by Final Cut for Real, Helsinki Filmi Oy, Louverture Films. 2014. Journal of Black Studies, 46(8): 837-842.
- Murrey, A. (2014) Learning from the African awakenings of 2011 - struggle and acts of imagination. Capital and Class, 38(3): 622-625.
- Murrey, A. (2011) Barack Obama and twenty-first century politics, Horace Campbell. Imhotep: Africana Studies Graduate Student Journal, 2(1): 38-41.