I am an assistant professor in the Geography Department and School of Modern Languages & Cultures (China Studies Programme) at Hong Kong University. As a political geographer with geospatial skills, my interests concern transportation infrastructure and natural resource development in northern frontiers, namely the Arctic, Russian Far East, and along the more remote corridors of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In these areas, I ask who is really benefiting from the major development projects that are taking place with dramatic impacts on livelihoods and landscapes.
I’ve done fieldwork on bridges both real and imagined in the Russian Far East and on a new highway to the Arctic Ocean in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and atop the melting Greenland Ice Sheet and inside air-conditioned offices in Singapore.
My research has been supported by generous grants from the International Council for Canadian Studies, the UCLA College of Social Sciences, the American Geophysical Union’s Cryosphere Focus Group, the UCLA Canadian Studies Program, and the UCLA Urban Humanities Institute. I also collaborate with the Configurations of Remoteness (CORE) project at the University of Vienna.
I received a PhD in Geography from UCLA, where I was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. I also participated in the NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide program at the University of Vienna. Prior to that, I obtained MPhil in Polar Studies from the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute with the support of a Gates Scholarship.
My academic publications are listed in Google Scholar and are available to read on academia.edu and ResearchGate. I post occasional 140-character thoughts on Twitter, square-sized photographs on Instagram, and updates on Facebook. Email me at mbennett at hku dot hk or send a message using the form below, and I’ll respond to you in English, Russian, French, or Swedish.