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Mimi Sheller

Mimi Sheller, PhD

Director, Center for Mobilities Research and Policy
Professor of Sociology
Graduate Faculty Member, Communication, Culture &
Center for Mobilities, Research and Policy
Department of Sociology
Center for Science, Technology and Society


  • AB, History and Literature, Harvard, 1988
  • MA, Sociology and Historical Studies, New School For Social Research, 1993
  • PhD, Sociology and Historical Studies, New School For Social Research, 1997
  • Honorary Doctoral Degree in Sociology, Roskilde University, Denmark, 2015

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Mobilities Research: travel, transport, mobile communication, mobile art
  • Sustainable Mobility and Mobility Justice: low-carbon transitions and futures
  • Caribbean Studies: citizenship, democratization, tourism, geo-ecologies
  • Urban Theory and Planetary Urbanization


Mimi Sheller, AB Harvard University (1988), MA (1993) and PhD (1997) New School for Social Research, is a professor of sociology and founding Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University. She is the current President of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (2014-2017), and co-editor of the journal Mobilities, which she co-founded in 2006.

She is author and co-editor of nine books, including most recently the monographs "Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity" (MIT Press, 2014) and "Citizenship from Below" (Duke University Press, 2012); and the co-edited volumes "The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities" (2013) and "Mobility and Locative Media" (2014). As founding co-editor of the journal Mobilities, Associate Editor of Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, co-editor of "Mobile Technologies of the City" (2006) and "Tourism Mobilities" (2004), and author of several highly cited articles, she helped established the new interdisciplinary field of mobilities research.

She is currently completing two books, one titled "Mobility Justice", and the second "Island Futures". She is also co-editing a book, "Mobilities and Compexities", on the contributions of John Urry to social theory. With a production grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Research in the Fine Arts she is also co-producing a documentary film on bauxite mining and aluminum, Fly Me to the Moon, with director Esther Figueroa.

In Fall 2016 she was Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Center for Advanced Research on Global Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication. She was awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa from Roskilde University, Denmark (2015) and has held Visiting Fellowships at the Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University, UK (2005-2012); the Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University (2008); Media@McGill, Canada (2009); the Center for Mobility and Urban Studies at Aalborg University, Denmark (2009); and the Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania (2010).

She has been awarded research funding from the US National Science Foundation for two projects collaborating with engineers and hydrologists on post-earthquake humanitarian responses in Haiti (2010-2012) and adaptation to climate change in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (2012-2013). Based on this work she was invited to co-chair the NSF review of all Haiti RAPID grants, and served as an expert advisor to the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction in its preparation of a report with the Government of Japan on the Japanese Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

She also was awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation, the New School’s Janey Program, and the University of Michigan’s Center for African and African-American Studies to support her PhD dissertation and first book, "Democracy After Slavery" (Macmillan, 2000), winner of the Choice outstanding book award. In the UK she was awarded grants from the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council for Consuming the Caribbean (Routledge, 2003), a history of transatlantic circulation and consumption. Her recently complete research project, ImagineTrains, was supported by the Mobile Lives Forum (Paris), where she also serves on the International Scientific Board.

Selected Publications:

Sole-authored Books

  • M. Sheller Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity (MIT Press, 2014)
  • M. Sheller Citizenship from Below: Erotic Agency and Caribbean Freedom (Duke Uni Press, 2012)
  • M. Sheller Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies (London & NY: Routledge 2003)
  • M. Sheller, Democracy After Slavery: Black Publics and Peasant Radicalism in Haiti and Jamaica (London & Oxford: Macmillan Caribbean, 2000; Miami: Univ. Press of Florida, 2001)

Edited Books

  • A. de Souza e Silva and M. Sheller (eds), Mobility and Locative Media: Mobile communication in hybrid spaces. Routledge, 2015
  • Adey, P., Bissell, D., Hannam, K., Merriman, P. and Sheller, M. (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities (London: Routledge, 2014).
  • M. Sheller and J. Urry (eds), Materialities and Mobilities, Special Issue of Environment and Planning A, 38 (London: Ashgate, 2006).
  • M. Sheller and J. Urry (eds), Mobile Technologies of the City, (London and New York: Routledge, 2006) Networked Cities Series.
  • M. Sheller and J. Urry (eds), Tourism Mobilities: Places to Play, Places in Play, (London and New York: Routledge, 2004)
  • S. Ahmed, C. Castaneda, AM Fortier, and M. Sheller (eds), Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration, (Oxford and New York: Berg, 2003) (25%)

Journal Special Issues Co-Edited

  • M. Büscher, M. Sheller & D. Tyfield (eds) Mobilities, 10th Anniversary Special Issue: ‘Mobilities Intersections’ (forthcoming 2016).
  • J. Nicholson and M. Sheller (eds) Special Issue: ‘Race and Mobilities’, Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2016 (in press).
  • L. Aceti, H. Iverson, M. Sheller (eds) Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Special Issue: LA Re.Play: Mobile Network Culture in Placemaking, Vol. 21, No. 1 (2016).
  • JC Freeman & M. Sheller (eds) Public Art Dialogue, SI: Digital Art, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 2015).
  • M. Sheller and J. Urry (eds), Materialities and Mobilities, Special Issue of Environment and Planning A, 38 (London: Ashgate, 2006).

Selected Refereed Journal Articles

  • Sheller, M. ‘Uneven Mobility Futures: A Foucauldian Approach,’ Mobilities, doi: 10.1080/17450101.2015.1097038.
  • Schimmel, D. and Sheller, M. ‘Janderz Aix,’ GeoHumanities, 1 (2) 2015 doi: 10.1080/2373566X.2015.1093523.
  • Sheller, M. ‘Connected Mobility in a Disconnected World: Contested Infrastructure in Post-Disaster Contexts’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, SI on Geographies of Mobility, ed. Mei-Po Kwan doi:10.1080/00045608.2015.1113114.
  • Sheller, M. and Deleón, Y. ‘Uneven Socio-ecologies of Hispaniola: Asymmetric Capabilities for Climate Adaptation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic’, Geoforum, Special Issue on Climate Justice & the Caribbean, eds. A. Baptiste and K. Rhiney (2015).
  • Sheller, M. ‘Racialized Mobility Transitions in Philadelphia: Urban Sustainability and the Problem of Transport Inequality’, City and Society, SI on Cities and Mobilities, ed. M. Freudendal-Pederson, Vo. 27, Issue 1, 70-91 (April 2015). doi: 10.1111/ciso.12049
  • Sheller, M. ‘How to be seen while being unseen: Finding the un-visible Bahamas in the (dis)assembled works of Tavares Strachan’, E-misphérica: Performance and Politics in the Americas, Special Issue on Rasamblaj, ed. Gina Ulysse, Vol. 12, No. 1 (May 2015).
  • Sheller, M., S O'Connor, HC Galada, FA Montalto, PL Gurian, M Piasecki, ‘Participatory Engineering for Recovery in Post-Earthquake Haiti’, Engineering Studies, SI on Engineering Risk and Disaster, eds. SG Knowles and G. Downey. doi: 10.1080/19378629.2014.964250
  • Sheller, M. ‘Mobility, Debordering and Territoriality on a Haitian-Dominican Border’, Sociologica, Special Issue on Moving boundaries of mobilities research, 1/2014, Issue 23, eds. J. Caletrio and G. Mandich. doi: 10.2383/77050
  • Sheller, M. ‘Global Energy Cultures of Speed and Lightness: Materials, Mobilities and Transnational Power’, SI Theory, Culture and Society: Energizing Society, 31 (5): 2014.
  • Sheller, M., ‘The New Mobilities Paradigm for a Live Sociology’, Current Sociology, first published on May 23, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0011392114533211
  • Sheller, M. ‘News Now: Interface, Flow, and the Temporalities of Mobile Media’, Special Issue of Journalism Studies, The Places and Spaces of News, ed. Chris Peters.
  • Sheller, M. ‘The Vital Materiality of Aluminum: light modernity and the global Atlantic’ Atlantic Studies, Global Currents, Vol. 11, No, 1 (2014), pp. 67-81.
  • Galada, HC; Montalto, FA; Gurian, PL; Sheller, M; Ayalew, T; and S O'Connor ‘Assessing Preferences Regarding Centralized and Decentralized Water Infrastructure in Post-Earthquake Leogane, Haiti.’ Earth Perspectives: Transdisciplinarity Enabled, 2014, 1:5 (12 February 2014).
  • Jensen, O.B., Sheller, M., and Wind, S. ‘Together and Apart: Affective Ambiences and Negotiation in Families’ Everyday Life and Mobility’, Mobilities, 2014. doi: 10.1080/17450101.2013.868158
  • Galada, HC, PL Gurian, , FA Montalto, , M Sheller, M Piasecki, T Ayalew, S Oconnor, ‘Attitudes toward Post-Earthquake Water and Sanitation Management and Payment Options in Leogane, Haiti’, Water International, Vol. 38, No. 6 (Sept. 2013): 744–757
  • Sheller, M. ‘Aluminum Across the Americas: Caribbean Mobilities and Transnational American Studies’, Journal of Transnational American Studies: Caribbean Issue, eds. B. Edmondson and D. Francis, Vol 5, Issue 1, 2013 (e-ISSN: 1940-0764).
  • Sheller, M., HC Galada, FA Montalto, PL Gurian, M Piasecki, S O'Connor, T. Ayalew, ‘Gender, Disaster and Resilience: Assessing Women’s Water and Sanitation Needs in Leogane, Haiti, Before and After the 2010 Earthquake’, wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water, Vol. 2, No. 1, May 2013 special issue.
  • Vukov, T. and Sheller, M. ‘Border Work: surveillant assemblages, virtual fences, and tactical counter-media’ in ‘Charting, Tracking, and Mapping: New Technologies, Labor, and Surveillance’, a special issue of Social Semiotics, Vol. 23, No. 2, (May 2013): 225-241.
  • Sheller, M. ‘The Islanding Effect: Post-Disaster Mobility Systems and Humanitarian Logistics in Haiti’, Cultural Geographies, 20 (2) April 2013: 185-204. Special issue on Islanding Geographies, eds. Eric Clark and Godfrey Baldaccino.
  • Sheller, M. ‘Mobility’, Sociopedia (2011) (published by the International Sociological Association with ‘state-of-the-art’ entries in social sciences).
  • Sheller, M. ‘Air Mobilities on the US-Caribbean Border: Open Skies and Closed Gates’, The Communication Review, Vol. 13: 4 (2010): 269-288.
  • Sheller, M. ‘The New Caribbean Complexity: mobility systems, tourism and the re-scaling of development’, The Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Vol. 30 (2009) pp. 189-203.
  • Sheller, M. ‘Infrastructures of the Imagined Island: Software, Mobilities and the Architecture of Caribbean Paradise’, Environment and Planning A, Vol. 41 (2009), pp. 1386-1403.
  • Sheller, M. ‘Bodies, Cybercars and the Production of Automated-Mobilities’, Social and Cultural Geography, 8: 2 (2008): 175-197.