Melissa W. Wright


Melissa W. Wright  studies the dynamics linking political, cultural and economic processes. Her research is based primarily in Mexico and along the Mexico-U.S. border. She has also conducted fieldwork in southern China and in Hong Kong. Her research has focused on the emergence of an international social movement that protests violence against women along the Mexico-U.S. border. Another project has examined the meaning of citizenship in a transnational context. Her current project focuses on how violence in northern Mexico along with the federal militarization of urban space has affected public life along both sides of the Mexico-US border.

Research Interests

  • political economy
  • Mexico and Mexico-U.S. border
  • social justice
  • political and urban geography
  • feminist studies


  • Ph.D. from Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 1997
  • B.A. Social Studies, Harvard-Radcliffe College, 1987


  • Destiny Aman, Ph.D. (current)

  • Vanessa Massaro, Ph.D. (current)

  • Dana Cuomo, Ph.D. (current)

  • Melissa Rock, Ph.D. (2012): “Splintering Beijing: Socio-spatial Fragmentation, Commodification and Gentrification  in the Hutongs of ‘Old’ Beijing.”

  • Beth Bee, Ph.D. (2011): “Gender, Adaptive Capacity and Cooperation in the Mezquital Valley, Mexico.”

  • Anu Sabhlok, Ph.D. (2007): “SEWA in Relief: Gendered Geographies of Disaster Relief in Gujarat, India”

  • Rafael Diaz, M.S. (2007): “Place Portrayal and Production of Space in American Professional Wrestling.”

  • Dana Cuomo, M.S. (2007): “Borders, Bodies and Belonging: Sex Trafficking in the United States.”

  • Beth Bee, M.S. (2006): “Financing Solidarity, Peddling Paradox: The Possibilities and Perils of a Feminist Geographic Approach to Microfinance in Bolivia.”

  • Cindy Rampersad, M.S. (2003): “Identity and Spatial Segregation: Trinidadian Communities in New York City.”

Courses Taught

  • GEOG 020
  • GEOG 428Y
  • GEOG 120


Articles and Book Chapters in Refereed Publication

  • In Press.  “Feminism, Urban Knowledge and the Killing of Politics.” In Rethinking Feminist Interventions into the Urban, L. Peake and M. Rieker, eds. New York: Routledge.
  • 2012.     “Witnessing, Femicide, and a Politics of the Familiar.” In The Global and the Intimate¸ G. Pratt and V. Rosner, eds. New York: Columbia University Press: 267-288.
  • 2012. “Wars of Interpretations. Antipode 44:  564–580.
  • 2011   “Necropolitics, Narcopolitics and Femicide: Gendered Violence on the Mexico-US Border.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 36: 707-731.
  • 2011  “National Security versus Public Safety: Femicide, Drug Wars and the Mexican State.” In Accumulating Insecurity: A New Politics of Containment. S. Feldman, G. Menon and C. Geisler, editors. Athens: The University of Georgia Press: 285-297. 
  •  2010   “Feminism and a Feeling of Justice.” Progress in Human Geography 34: 818-827
  • 2010    "Gender and geography II: bridging the gap -- feminist, queer, and the geographical imaginary. " Progress in Human Geography  34 (2010): 56-66.
  • 2009  "Justice and the Geographies of Moral Protest: Reflections from Mexico." Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27:  216 – 233.
  • 2009   “Gender and Geography: Knowledge and Activism across the Intimately Global,” Progress in Human Geography, 33:  379-386.
  • 2008     “El Lucro, La Democracia y la Mujer Pública: Haciendo las Conexiones,”(“Profit, Democracy and Public Women: Making the Connections”).  In Bordeando La Violencia Contra Las Mujeres en la Frontera Norte de México, S. Tabuenca and J. Monárrez, editors. Tijuana: El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, 49-81. 
  • 2008     “Craven Emotional Warriors.” Antipode 40, 376-382.
  • Reprint: 2008 in Practising Public Scholarship, K. Mitchell, editor.  Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 29-35.
  • 2007    “Urban Geography Plenary Lecture-- Femicide, Mother-activism and the Geography of Protest in Northern Mexico.” Urban Geography 28, 401-425.
  • Reprint: Forthcoming, 2010. Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade and La Frontera. A. Gaspar de Alba and G. Guzmán, editors. Austin: The University of Texas Press.  
  • 2006  “Differences That Matter.” In The David Harvey Reader, N. Castree and D. Gregory, editors. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.d
  • 2006    “Field Note: Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 34, 94-97.


Book Reviews

  • 2009    Growing up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children's Everyday Lives by Cindi Katz. Antipode 41: 1134 – 1137.
  • 2009.   “Author response” in the review symposium of Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism by M.W. Wright. Social and Cultural Geography 10: 936 – 940.