Dr Hashem Abushama

Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography and Career Development Fellow

Academic Profile

I am a Departmental Lecturer and Career Development Fellow at St John's College and the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE). I am a human geographer with interests in urban studies, cultural studies, critical development studies, and postcolonial geographies. I hold a DPhil in Human Geography and an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College in the United States. I teach on critical development geographies, postcolonial geographies, decolonial methods, and geographical techniques.

Before joining the faculty at Oxford, I worked as a researcher at the London School of Economics (LSE). I have authored several academic and journalistic articles on dispossession, arts, urbanization, the archives, and postcolonial Marxism.

Current Research

My training in geography is highly interdisciplinary and engages with debates in urban geography, settler colonial and postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and development geographies. I have three developing research projects. The first is my monograph Cities and the Settler Colony: Accumulation, Dispossession, and Arts, which examines Palestinian cultural productions in Haifa (Israel) and Ramallah (occupied territories). The monograph takes the cities as two connected yet distinctly different sites in the production of global capitalism and settler colonialism. It looks at everyday processes of cultural production (theatre, music, and visual arts) and their intertwinement with processes of market reconfiguration, gentrification, and racialization following the neoliberalisation of Israel in 1985. By weaving together in-depth interviews, counter-mapping, visual analysis, and archival research, the monograph traces processes of socio-spatial formation to offer a materialist understanding of cultural productions that shows how neoliberal capitalism adapts itself to colonial dispossession and racialization. By bridging postcolonial and post-Marxist geographies, the research makes key contributions to how we understand the contradictory workings of capitalism and settler colonialism in Palestine/Israel and beyond, and how people make sense of their complex social realities.

The second project, which is funded through a three-year summer Postdoctoral EUME Fellowship at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin, extends my analysis of cultural processes and the built environment back to Europe of the early twentieth century to examine a curious link between Dada arts and Zionism. The project examines the constitutive, spatial role of Dada co-founder Marcel Janco in the burial of Palestinian villages in relation to Dada’s earlier, ambivalent dependency on colonialism and its theft of artworks. The third project is in the early stages and focuses on everyday processes of cultural production as entry points into examining the Arab Gulf’s rising cultural hegemony. Against the backdrop of the burgeoning literature on the Arab Gulf’s political economy, the project aims to fill a major lacuna in the literature by examining cultural processes in the Gulf and their intertwinement with capital and regional economic development.

I also have an enthusiastic interest in food as a practice and archive and work closely with the Kitchen Marronage collective as a chef-in-residence, curating recipes, food seminars, and collaborations.

Teaching and Supervision

I contribute to a number of Prelims and FHS undergraduate courses and co-convene a third-year option titled 'Critical Development Geographies'.

I am happy to serve as a secondary supervisor for DPhil and master's dissertations in the following areas: urbanization, postcolonial geographies, settler colonialism, indigenous ontologies, arts, and Palestine/Israel.

Selected Publications

Book Manuscript

  • Cities and the Settler Colony: Accumulation, Dispossession, and Arts (in preparation, 2025)

Peer-reviewed Articles

Public Scholarship

Dr Hashem Abushama