Audra Mitchell is a settler of Ukrainian, Polish, Scottish and English Ancestry who was raised on unceded Musqueam and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh lands, and who lives on the Ancestral and Treaty lands of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas of the New Credit. Her current research, teaching and organizing addresses the relationship between large-scale forms of violence – including settler colonialism, genocides, extractive capitalism, environmental racism, sexual and gendered land-based violence – Indigenous peoples and the destruction of plants, animals and other life forms, or what Western scientists call ‘extinction’. Audra is grateful to be collaborating with Indigenous communities across Turtle Island and Australia to identify, diagnose and confront the multiple forms of violence driving global patterns of extinction, and to revitalize land-based ecological-political practices that strengthen bonds with plants, animals, lands and waters. Trained in Western critical political theory, violence studies and anthropology, Audra is learning from plural Indigenous knowledge keepers and systems, including Anishinaabeg, Onkwehonwe/Haudenosaunee, Yolngu, Gumbayngirr, Dharug, Nêhiyaw, Kānaka Maoli and Mexica knowledges. Her role in this work is to collaborate with grassroots Indigenous partners to critique dominant forms of violence, build solidarities and share knowledge across communities, and envision alternative futures that refuse ecological destruction.
Audra currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Political Ecology at Wilfrid Laurier University. From 2015-2018, Audra held the CIGI Chair in Global Governance and Ethics at the Balsillie School and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Until 2014, Audra was a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of York in the UK. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of St. Andrews in 2009-10, after completing her PhD at the Queen’s University of Belfast. During the early stages of her career, Audra worked in the fields of violence, international intervention and peacebuilding, and critical security studies. Notable work in these fields includes her contributions to the study of large-scale harms against non-humans and the role of structural violence in enforcing peacebuilding projects. Audra brings insights gleaned from these fields to bear on the analysis of the impact of large-scale violence on Indigenous communities and their plant and animal relatives.
Audra is a founding member of the ‘Creatures Collective’, an international group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, activists and artists who work to challenge colonial accounts of extinction; to develop methods for working ethically across knowledge systems and species; and to support rising Indigenous and BIPOC researchers. Audra is also the co-founder and co-chair of the Research Cluster for Indigenous Peoples, Decolonization and the Globe at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
Audra is the author of four books and more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that address issues such as the effects of structural violence on plants, animals and their human relatives; the concept of ‘extinction’ in fields such as international relations and political geography; the ethics of harms against nonhumans; and Western logics of violence.