Professor Brett Neilson

Portrait photo of Professor Brett NeilsonProfessor Brett Neilson's research and writing aims to provide alternative ways of conceiving globalisation, with particular emphasis upon its social and cultural dimensions. Drawing on cultural and social theory as well as on empirical and archival information, this research has derived original and provocative means for rethinking the significance of globalisation for a wide range of contemporary problems and predicaments, including the circulation of popular culture, the proliferation of borders, the ascendancy of global financial markets, the pressures of population ageing and the growing heterogeneity of labour. His writings have been translated into thirteen languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Polish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

He is currently working on the ARC Discovery project, 'Logistics as Global Governance: Labour, Software and Infrastructure along the New Silk Road' (opens in a new window), with partner researchers from Greece, India, Chile, Italy, Canada and the UK; and a second, 'Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory' with partner researchers from China, Singapore, Italy, the UK and Germany.


PhD, 1994, English, Yale University, USA

MA, MPhil, 1990, English, Yale University, USA

BA, (Hons 1), 1987, English, University of Sydney

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Honours and Awards

1987-92: Fulbright Scholarship, Australian-American Educational Foundation

1992-93: Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship

1989-92: William Lyons Phelps Prize Fellowship, Yale University

1987-89: Richard J. Franke Prize Fellowship, Yale University

1987: University Medal, English, University of Sydney

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Selected Publications


Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2019, The politics of operations: excavating contemporary capitalism (opens in a new window), Duke University Press, Durham & London.

Neilson, B, Rossiter, N & Samaddar, R (eds) 2018, Logistical Asia: the labour of making a world region (opens in a new window), Palgrave, Singapore.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N (eds) 2017, Logistical worlds: infrastructure, software, labour, No.2, Kolkata (opens in a new window), Low Latencies, London.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2014, Confini e frontiere: la moltiplicazione del lavoro nel mondo globale (opens in a new window), Il Mulino, Bologna.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2013, Border as method, or the multiplication of labor (opens in a new window), Duke University Press, Durham & London. [Spanish translation: La frontera como método, o la multiplicación del trabajo published in 2016 by Tinta Limón (Buenos Aires) and Traficantes de Suenos (Madrid); Slovenian translation: Meja kot metoda ali pomnoževanje dela (opens in a new window) published in 2018 by Filozofska fakulteta - Univerza v Ljubljani].

Neilson, B 2004, Free trade in the Bermuda Triangle … and other tales of counter-globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Edited Volumes

Neilson, B, Rossiter, N & Samaddar, R (eds) 2018, Logistical Asia: the labour of making a world region (opens in a new window), Springer, Singapore.

Mezzandra, S & Neilson, B (guest eds) 2015, 'Special issue: extraction, logistics, and finance', South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 114, no. 1. 

Cameron, F & Neilson, B (eds) 2015, Climate change and museum futures (opens in a new window), Routledge, New York. 

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N (eds) 2014, Logistical worlds: infrastructure, software, labour (opens in a new window), no. 1.

Neilson, B & Coté, M (eds) 2014, 'Are we all cultural workers now?', [Themed Section] Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 7, issue 1.

Puwar, Nirmal, Gerald Raunig & Brett Neilson (eds) 2011, 'University struggles and the system of measure', Edu-factory Journal, issue 1.

Cardona, B & Neilson, B (eds) 2009, 'Ageing, anti-ageing and globalization: transitions and limits in the governance of ageing', [Special Issue] Health Sociology Review, vol. 18, issue 4.

Neilson, B & Bamyeh, M (guest eds) 2009, 'Special issue: drugs in motion: mind and body altering substances in the world's cultural economy', Cultural Critique, no. 71.

Edufactory Collective (ed.) 2008, L'universita' globale: Il nuovo mercato del sapere, Manifesto Libri, Rome.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N (guest eds) 2006, 'Special issue: experience, movement and the creation of new political forms', Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, vol. 6, no. 4.

Anderson, K, Dobson, R, Allon, F & Neilson, B (eds) 2006, After sprawl: post-suburban Sydney. E-proceedings of the 'post-suburban Sydney: the city in transformation' (opens in a new window)conference, 22-23 November 2005, Centre for Cultural Research, Sydney.

Goddard, M & Neilson, B (guest eds) 2005, 'Special issue: Italian effects', Cultural Studies Review, vol. 11, no. 2.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, R (guest eds) 2005, 'Special issue: multitudes, creative organisation, and the precarious condition of new media labour' (opens in a new window), Fibreculture Journal, no. 5.

Watson, I, Allon, F, Nicholl, F & Neilson, B (eds) 2002, 'Special Issue: On What Grounds? Sovereignty, Territoriality, and Indigenous Rights' (opens in a new window), Borderlands, vol. 1, no. 2.

Book Chapters

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2019, 'Theses on automation and labour', in D Bigo, E Isin & E Ruppert (eds), Data politics: worlds, subjects, rights, 1st edition (opens in a new window), Routledge.

Neilson, B, Rossiter, N & Samaddar, R 2018, ‘Making logistical worlds’, in B Neilson, N Rossiter and R Samaddar (eds), Logistical Asia: the labour of making a world region, Palgrave, Singapore, pp. 1-20.

Neilson, B 2018, ‘Follow the software: reflections on the logistical worlds project’, in in B Neilson, N Rossiter and R Samaddar (eds), Logistical Asia: the labour of making a world region, Palgrave, Singapore, pp. 263-289.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2018, ‘Lampedusa’, in R Braidotti & M Hlavajova (eds), Posthuman Glossary (opens in a new window), Bloomsbury Academic, London.

Neilson, B 2015, 'A city that exports air: containers, traffic and logistics in Sydney's intermodal network and beyond', in Birtchnell, T, Savitzky, S & Urry, J (eds), Cargomobilities: moving materials in a global age, Routledge.

Cameron F & Neilson, B 2015, 'Introduction', in F Cameron & B Neilson (eds), Climate change and museum futures (opens in a new window), Routledge, New York, pp. 1-8.

Neilson, B 2015, 'Inside and outside the tent: climate change politics at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference', in F Cameron & B Neilson (eds), Climate change and museum futures (opens in a new window), Routledge, New York, pp. 175-187.

Neilson, B & Coté, M 2014, 'Introduction: are we all cultural workers now?', [Themed Section] Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 7, issue 1, pp. 2-11.

Neilson, B 2013, 'Life and code: logistics, culture and economy', in T Bennett (ed.), Challenging (the) humanities, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 99-116.

Neilson, B 2013, 'Logistics of cultural work', in M Banks, S Taylor and R Gill (eds), Theorizing cultural work (opens in a new window), Routledge, London, pp. 99-112.

Neilson, B 2013, 'On Expo 2010's hinterlands, "extrastatecraft" and migrant workers', in T Winter (ed.), Shanghai Expo: an international forum on the future of cities, Routledge, London, pp. 69-82.

Neilson, B 2012, 'Fracking', in C Wiedemann & S Zehle (eds), Depletion design: a glossary of network ecologies, INC, Amsterdam, pp. 83-86.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2011, 'Borderscapes of differential inclusion: subjectivity and struggles on the threshold of justice's excess', in É Balibar, S Mezzadra & R Samaddar (eds), Borders of justice (opens in a new window), Temple University Press, Philadelphia.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2010, 'Still waiting, still moving: on labour, logistics and maritime industries' (opens in a new window), in D Bissell & G Fuller (eds), Stillness in a mobile world, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 51-68.

Neilson, B 2009, 'Waiting', in H-Y Hsieh (ed.) 2008 Taipei Biennale feature: dictionary of war, Taipei, pp. 332-40.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2008, 'Die Grenze als Methode, oder die Vervielfältigung der Arbeit', in translate/eipcp (ed.), Borders, nations, translations: Übersetzung in einer globalisierten welt, Turia + Kant, Wien, pp. 113-28.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B, 2008, 'Il confine come metodo della moltiplicazione del lavoro', in Edufactory Collective (eds), Universita globale: il nuovo mercato del sapere, Manifestolibri, Roma, pp. 87-92.

Neilson, B 2008, 'Anticipazioni del globale. Soggettivita dopo il Sessantotto mondiale', in M Baldassari & D Melegari (eds), La rivoluzione dietro di noi: filosofia e politica prima e dopo il '68, Manifestolibri, Roma, pp. 79-86.

Neilson, B 2007, 'At the frontiers of metaphysics: time and history in T.S. Eliot and Walter Benjamin', in G Cianci & J Harding (eds), T.S. Eliot and the concept of tradition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 185-241

Neilson, B & Mitropoulos, A 2007, 'Exceptional times, non-governmental spacings, and impolitical movements' (opens in a new window), in M Feher (ed.), Nongovernmental politics, Zone Books, New York, pp. 469-81.

Neilson, B 2006, 'Cultural studies and Giorgio Agamben', in G Hall & C Birchall (eds), New cultural studies: adventures in theory, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 128-45.

Neilson, B 2006, 'The market and the police: finance capital in permanent global war', in N Sakai & J Solomon (eds), Translation, biopolitics, colonial difference, traces: a multilingual series of culture theory and translation, no. 4, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 157-74.

Neilson, B 2006, 'Wyndham Lewis in Morocco: spatial philosophy and the politics of race', in C Patey, G Cianci & F Cuojati (eds), Anglo-American modernity in the Mediterranean, Cisalpino, Milano, pp. 313-26.

Neilson, B 2004, 'Hardy, barbarism, and the transformations of modernity', in T Dolin & P Widdowson (eds), Thomas Hardy and contemporary literary studies (opens in a new window), Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, pp. 65-79.

Neilson, B 2001, 'How to launder money: finance capital, value, and biopower', in H Brown, G Lovink, H Merrick, N Rossiter, D The, & M Wilson (eds), Politics of a digital present: an inventory of Australian net culture, criticism and theory, Fibreculture Publications, Melbourne, pp. 39-46.

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Journal Articles

Neilson, B & Notley, T 2019, 'Data centres as logistical facilities: Singapore and the emergence of production topologies' (opens in a new window), Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 15-29.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2018, 'Entre extraction et exploitation: des mutations en cours dans l’organisation de la coopération sociale' (opens in a new window), Actuel Marx, no. 63, pp. 97-113.

Neilson, B 2018, ‘Precarious in Piraeus: on the making of labour insecurity in a port concession’ (opens in a new window), Globalizations,

Neilson, B 2018, 'The currency of migration' (opens in a new window), South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 375-396.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2017, 'On the multiple frontiers of extraction: excavating contemporary capitalism', Cultural Studies, pp. 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2017.1303425.

Neilson, B 2015, 'Knowledge on the move between logistics and translation' (opens in a new window), Translation: A Transdisciplinary Journal, vol. 4, pp. 129-146.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2015, 'Operations of capital' (opens in a new window), South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 114, no. 1, pp. 1-9.

Casas-Cortes, M, Cobarrubias, S, De Genova, N, Garelli, G, Grappi, G, Heller, C et al. 2015, 'New keywords: migration and borders', Cultural Studies, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 55-87.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2014, 'The materiality of communism: politics beyond representation and the state' (opens in a new window), South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 113, no. 4, pp. 777-790.

Neilson, B 2014, 'Zones: beyond the logic of exception?' (opens in a new window), Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 11-28.

Neilson, B 2014, 'Beyond Kulturkritik: along the supply chain of contemporary capitalism' (opens in a new window), Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, vol. 6, pp. 77-93.

Mezzadra, S, Neilson, B 2014, 'Fronteras de inclusión diferencial: subjetividad y luchas en el umbral de los excesos de justicia' (opens in a new window), Papeles del CEIC. International Journal on Collective Identity Research, vol. 2014, no. 2.

Kanngieser, A, Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2014, 'What is a research platform? mapping methods, mobilities and subjectivities', Media, Culture & Society, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 302-318.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2013, 'Extraction, logistics, finance: global crisis and the politics of operations', Radical Philosophy, vol. 178, pp. 8-18.

Neilson, B 2012, 'Ageing, experience, biopolitics: life's unfolding', Body and Society, vol. 18, no. 3&4, pp. 44-71.

Neilson, B 2012, 'Five theses on understanding logistics as power', Distinktion, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 323-40.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2012, 'Between inclusion and exclusion: on the topology of global space and borders', Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 29, no. 4&5, pp. 58-75.

Cardona, B & Neilson, B 2011, 'The logics of human growth hormone and the predicaments of old age', Continuum, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 857-71.

Neilson, B & Dibley, B 2010, 'Climate crisis and the actuarial imaginary: "the war on global warming"', New Formations, no. 69, pp. 144-59.

Neilson, B 2010, 'Politics without action, economy without labor' (opens in a new window), Theory and Event, vol. 13, no. 1.

Neilson, B 2010, 'On ambidextrousness, or, what is an innovative action?', CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, vol. 12, no. 4,

Neilson, B 2010, 'Between governance and sovereignty: remaking the borderscape to Australia's north' (opens in a new window), Local-Global Journal, no. 8, pp. 124-40.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2010, 'Frontières et inclusion différentielle', Rue Descartes, no. 67, pp. 102-08.

Neilson, B 2009, 'Opening translation', Transeuropéennes: revue internationale de pensée critique, no. 24.

Neilson, B 2009, 'Translating signs, producing subjects', Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol. 6, no. 1.

Neilson, B 2009, 'The world seen from a taxi: students-migrants-workers in the global multiplication of labour' (opens in a new window), Subjectivity, no. 29, pp. 425-44.

Neilson, B 2009, 'Ageing and globalisation in a moment of so-called crisis', Health Sociology Review, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 349-63.

Neilson, B & Bamyeh, M 2009, 'Drugs in motion: towards a materialist tracking of global mobilities', Cultural Critique, no. 71, pp. 1-12.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2008, 'Precarity as a political concept, or, Fordism as exception', Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 25, no. 7-8, pp. 51-72.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2006, 'Towards a political anthropology of new institutional forms', Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 393-410.

Neilson, B 2006, 'Anti-ageing cultures, biopolitics and globalisation' (opens in a new window), Cultural Studies Review, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 149-64.

Mitropolous, A & Neilson, B 2006, 'Cutting democracy's knot' (opens in a new window), Culture Machine, vol. 8

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2005, 'From precarity to precariousness and back again: life, labour and unstable networks' (opens in a new window), Fibreculture Journal, no. 5

Neilson, B 2005, 'Provincialising the Italian effect' (opens in a new window), Cultural Studies Review, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 11-24.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2005, 'Action without reaction: a Mongolian border intervention' (opens in a new window), Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, vol. 5, no. 10, pp. 744-49.

Mitropoulos, A & Neilson, B 2005, 'Academia Inc. and the (culture) war', Overland, vol. 179, pp. 15-19.

Neilson, B & Mitropolous, A 2005, 'Polemos, universitas' (opens in a new window), Borderlands: New Spaces in the Humanities, vol. 4, no. 1.

Neilson, B 2005, 'La politica dell' immaginario: appunti incompleti su affetto e potere', Studi culturali, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 3-22.

Neilson, B 2004, 'Potenza nuda? Sovereignty, biopolitics, capitalism', Contretemps, no. 5, pp. 63-78.

Neilson, B 2003, 'Globalization and the biopolitics of aging' (opens in a new window), CR: The New Centennial Review, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 161-86.

Neilson, B 2003, 'I migranti, i nativi e le gabbie del nazionalismo: Il diritto di fuga del movimento australiano', DeriveApprodi, vol. 24, pp. 96-100.

Neilson, B 2003, 'Australia, panottico o terra nullius', DeriveApprodi, vol. 23, pp. 44-49.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2003, 'Né qui, né altrove: migration, detention, desertion' (opens in a new window), Borderlands, vol. 2, no. 1.

Neilson, B 2002, 'Bodies of protest: performing citizenship at the 2000 Olympic Games' (opens in a new window), Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 13-25.

Neilson, B 1999, 'Barbarism/modernity: notes on barbarism' (opens in a new window), Textual Practice, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 75-91.

Neilson, B 1999, 'On the new cosmopolitanism' (opens in a new window), Communal/Plural: Journal of Transnational and Cross-Cultural Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 111-24.

Neilson, B 1997, 'Institution, time-lag, globality' (opens in a new window), Journal of Communication Inquiry, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 23-34.

Neilson, B 1996, 'Threshold procedures: boat people in Western Australia and South Florida' (opens in a new window), Critical Arts: Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 21-40.

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Other Articles

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, S 2014, 'The state of capitalist globalization', Viewpoint Magazine, vol. 4.

Neilson, B, Rossiter, N & Zehle, S 2010, 'From flows of culture to the circuits of logistics: borders, regions, labour in transit', Transit-Labour: Circuits, Regions, Borders, no. 2, pp. 1-4.

Neilson, B 2010, 'Guijing migrant village', Transit-Labour: Circuits, Regions, Borders, no. 2, pp. 33-35.

Kanngieser, A, Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2010, 'What is a research platform?', Transit-Labour: Circuits, Regions, Borders, no. 1, pp. 11-13.


Neilson, B 2008, 'Waiting' in Dictionary of War, Biennale Edition, Taipei.


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