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Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Oxford

Prior to becoming Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography, Ariell was the Course Director of the MSc/MPhil in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance and before that an ESRC-GCRF postdoctoral fellow at the School for Geography and the Environment on an independent project called Managing Development and Infrastructure: Understanding State Engagements with Rural Communities in Mongolia. She completed her DPhil from the School for Geography in February 2016. She holds a BA degree in Anthropology from Hartwick College and an MPA from Cornell University in the United States.

Since 2004, Ariell has worked extensively in rural Mongolia with mobile pastoralist communities around land use and rural development issues. She started her research in 2004 studying the guest house and international traveller culture in Ulaanbaatar. From 2006-2007 she held a US Fulbright Fellowship in Mongolia to study international development discourse related to herder livelihoods. Her DPhil work from 2012-2016 consisted of an ethnography focused on the governance of pastoralism and changing forms of work in rural Mongolia.

In 2016 she engaged as an expert on a multi-disciplinary team to conduct a qualitative analysis of herder livelihoods and socio-economic changes related to the Oyu Tolgoi mega mine complex in the South Gobi Desert. From this work, Ariell's research focus has become concerned with understanding the impacts of mines and infrastructure investment (particularly Belt and Road Projects) in rural Mongolia, Central and South Asia (mostly Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan) and implications for politics and formations of the state in this region.

Ariell's current research aims to understand the relationship between social systems, resource distribution and governance frameworks in regions undergoing economic transformation. She specializes in qualitative, participatory research, using methods such as ethnographic participant observation, interviewing, mapping and immersive field work to document and analyse the conditions that inform human decision-making and organization.


  • –present
    Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Oxford


  • 2016 
    School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford , Geography