Deborah Cowen

Sidney Smith Hall 5047
(416) 946-0567


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Circulation & infrastructure, race & space, sexuality & social ordering, imperialism & urban life.


My work explores how the spaces of everyday life are assembled, reproduced, contested, and transformed. I focus on questions of circulation and infrastructure, attending to the co-production of race and space, sexuality and social ordering, and the intimate life of war in ostensibly civilian spaces. I am deeply fortunate to work with award-winning artists and filmmakers, Indigenous knowledge keepers, community organizers, labour movements, as well as extraordinary interdisciplinary and emerging scholars. My current research, entitled, Spineless: Infrastructure for the Apocalypse, explores the key role of socio-technical systems in the colonization of North America, and unearths alternative visions and forms of infrastructure to reorient us on a path to survival, justice and flourishing.


LaDuke, Winona & Deborah Cowen (2020) “Beyond Wiindigo Infrastructure.” South Atlantic Quarterly. 119(2): 243-269.

Cowen, Deborah (2020) “Following the Infrastructures of Empire: Notes on Cities, Settler Colonialism, and Method.” Urban Geography.

Cowen, Deborah (2014) The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade. University of Minnesota Press. 2016 International Political Sociology Book Award, International Studies Association.


PhD, University of Toronto