Dr Alistair Fraser



Rhetoric House
(01) 708 6156


I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2006 with a PhD in Geography, based on research regarding land reform which I conducted in northern Limpopo province, South Africa. I held a Post-Doc position in UCD, Ireland between 2006-07 before starting to lecture in Geography in Maynooth in September 2007. My contract was made permanent in 2012. I applied for promotion to Associate Professor in 2023 but was unsuccessful.

My work is diverse in nature, cutting across political, economic and cultural geography. The place most of my research has engaged is South Africa (e.g. see my publications in Geoforum, Social & Cultural Geography, TESG, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Rural Studies, and Estudios de Asia y Africa).

Flowing out of this work, I have developed interests in the political economy of food, particularly how corporate control of the food system creates multiple forms of oppression as well as diverse practices of resistance. I have written about the Irish government's position within this scene (Human Geography) and have published an article that deals with literary geography and the contemporary global politics of rurality, using Barbara Kingsolver's A Prodigal Summer (Journal of Rural Studies). In 2016/17 I also published my first solo-authored book, Global Foodscapes: Oppression and Resistance in the Life of Food (Routledge). I have developed some of the ideas in this work to publish in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers on the 'sugar wars' and by referencing and examining aspects of Mexico's sugar tax; I have also published an examination of some of these debates about sugar in the Irish context.

I am currently conducting new work on the relationship between agriculture and 'big data' (and our algorithmic world), leading to a conference paper presented at the International Colloquium on Agrarian Studies in Vitoria-Gasteiz, which I have published in the Journal of Peasant Studies; a workshop on 'slow computing' held in Maynooth and organized with Rob Kitchin, which led to our 2021 book titled Slow Computing: Why We Need Balanced Digital Lives; articles engaging the concept of 'data curation' in the JPS and Geoforum; an article asking whether we really can 'eat data' in Journal of Rural Studies; and a book chapter in the The Routledge Handbook of Development and Environment titled 'Food, digital life, and new environment-development dynamics.' Many of the ideas I've been exploring are brought together in a 2022 article titled 'Up in the air: the challenge of conceptualizing and crafting a post-carbon planetary politics to confront climate change' (JPS)
Regarding quite different empirical issues, I have also written about geographical research regarding dance music scenes (Geography Compass), and more specifically drum & bass music (Geoforum, co-authored with Nancy Ettlinger) and the role of MCs therein (Dancecult). See also my recent From the Floor tribute in Dancecult to drum & bass in general and Marcus Intalex in particular.

Finally, I should note that I've published papers about some aspects of conducting fieldwork (Area, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography); supervised Dr Mavuto D Tembo's PhD thesis on climate change in Uganda; co-researched aspects of Ireland's economic crisis (Human Geography, with Enda Murphy and Sinead Kelly); edited a 40 chapter, two-volume book called Anniversary Essays to celebrate the Geography department's 40th Anniversary; and have published numerous blog posts on diverse topics on Eye on the World (a blog hosted by Maynooth University's Department of Geography) and Ireland After Nama (a blog hosted by NIRSA at Maynooth).

Since February 2019, I have been an Assistant Editor with the journal Human Geography. Since April 2020 I have been on the Editorial Board of Dancecult. In 2022 I became a Review Editor on the Editorial Board of Social Movements, Institutions and Governance (specialty section of Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems). I was Associate Editor and Social Media Editor for the journal Space & Polity from 2020-21.

Research Interests

Political Geography; Globalization, Development, Africa, South Africa; Political Economy of Africa; Land reform; Food Systems; Foodscapes; Scalar practices ('scalecraft'), Neoliberalism, South Africa, Uganda, Ireland, Mexico.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
The Irish Aid Water is Life: Amazzi Bulamu Research Programme PI 01/10/2008 30/09/2013


Year Publication
2020 Kitchin, R. and Fraser, A. (2020) Slow Computing: Why We Need Balanced Digital Lives. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
2017 Fraser A. (2017) Global Foodscapes: Oppression and resistance in the Life of Food. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. [DOI]
2012 Fraser, A. (Ed) (2012) Anniversary Essays: Forty Years of Geography at Maynooth. : Department of Geography, NUIM. [Full-Text]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2013 Fraser A. (2013) 'Political geographies of capitalist development in South Africa' In: Territory, the State and Urban Politics: A Critical Appreciation of the Selected Writings of Kevin R. Cox.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2021 Fraser A. (2021) 'Basslines, brains, bits, bytes, and burgers: Working with, and within the limits to, Marxism'. Human Geography(United Kingdom), . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Fraser A. (2021) '‘You can't eat data’?: Moving beyond the misconfigured innovations of smart farming'. Journal of Rural Studies, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Fraser A. (2020) 'Ghosts in the vending machine: Expressing corporate power in Ireland’s food and drinks industry via the territorialization of selective openness'. Human Geography(United Kingdom), . [DOI]
2019 Fraser, A (2019) 'Death of/in British Drum ‘n’ Bass Music'. Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, . [Full-Text]
2019 Fraser A. (2019) 'Curating digital geographies in an era of data colonialism'. Geoforum, 104 :193-200. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Fraser A. (2019) 'The digital revolution, data curation, and the new dynamics of food sovereignty construction'. Journal of Peasant Studies, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Fraser A. (2018) 'Land grab/data grab: precision agriculture and its new horizons'. Journal of Peasant Studies, :1-20. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Fraser, A (2018) 'Iterative power: Herbert Gladstone and the British imperial project in early twentieth century South Africa'. Revista Estudios de Africa y Asia, 53 :319-349. [Full-Text]
2018 Fraser A. (2018) 'Mexico's “Sugar Tax”: Space, Markets, Resistance'. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, :1-15. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Fraser A. (2017) 'Tactile topologies of the rural'. Journal of Rural Studies, 56 :198-206. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 Fraser, A (2014) 'The rural geographies of Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer'. Journal of Rural Studies, 35 :143-151. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 Fraser, A. (2014) 'On the Content and Contribution of MCs in British Drum 'n' Bass'. Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, 6 (2):42-60. [Full-Text]
2013 Fraser, A., Murphy, E., & Kelly, S. (2013) 'Deepening neoliberalism via austerity and ‘reform’: The case of Ireland'. Human Geography, 6 :38-53. [Full-Text]
2012 Fraser A. (2012) 'The 'throwntogetherness' of research: Reflections on conducting fieldwork in South Africa'. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33 (3):291-295. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Fraser A. (2012) 'The Spaces, Politics, and Cultural Economies of Electronic Dance Music'. Geography Compass, 6 (8):500-511. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Fraser, A. (2011) 'Nothing but its eradication? Ireland's Hunger Task Force and the production of hunger'. Human Geography, 4(3): 48-60 :48-60. [Full-Text]
2010 Fraser, A (2010) 'The craft of scalar practices'. Environment and Planning A, 42 :332-346. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Fraser, A (2008) 'Guest editorial: Gaining ground: Emerging agrarian political geographies'. Political Geography, 27 :717-720. [Full-Text]
2008 Fraser, A; Ettlinger, N (2008) 'Fragile empowerment: The dynamic cultural economy of British drum and bass music'. Geoforum, 39 :1647-1656. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Fraser, A (2008) 'Geography and land reform'. Geographical Review, 98 :309-321. [Full-Text]
2008 Fraser A. (2008) 'White farmers' dealings' with land reform in Soutth Africa: Evidence from Northern Limpopo Province'. Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 99 (1):24-36. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Fraser, A & Ettlinger, N (2008) 'Fragile empowerment: The cultural economy of British Drum & Bass music'. Geoforum, 39 :1647-1656. [Full-Text]
2007 Fraser, A (2007) 'Land reform in South Africa and the colonial present'. Social and Cultural Geography, 8 :835-851. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2007 Fraser, A. (2007) 'Coded spatialities of fieldwork'. Area, 39 :242-245. [Full-Text]
2007 Fraser, A. (2007) 'Hybridity Emergent: Geo-History, Learning and Land Restitution in South Africa'. Geoforum, 38 :299-311. [Full-Text]
2003 Robbins, P. & Fraser, A. (2003) 'A Forest of Contradictions: Producing the Landscapes of the Scottish Highlands'. Antipode, 35 :95-118. [Full-Text]


Year Publication
2008 Fraser, A (2008) Gaining ground: Emerging agrarian political geographies. OXFORD: [Editorial] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 McCusker, B; Fraser, A (2008) Land reform in the era of neoliberalism: Case studies from the global south. HOBOKEN: [Editorial]


Year Publication
2018 Fraser A. (2018) Iterative power:Herbert Gladstone andthe British imperial project inearly twentieth century South Africa. [Reviews]

Working Paper

Year Publication
2017 Fraser, A. and Kitchin, R. (2017) Slow computing. [Working Paper] [Link] [Full-Text]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
The Ohio State University PhD in Geography
The Ohio State University MA in Geography


Language Reading Writing Speaking
Spanish Fluent Functional Fluent

Teaching Interests

Globalization, Food, Research skills