Olivia Mena is a sociologist who studies race and ethnicity in a global context. Her scholarly interests are in postcolonial studies and cultural theory. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics. She also holds a master’s degree in Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies from the London School of Economics and a master’s degree in Bicultural and Bilingual Studies from University of Texas at San Antonio. Prior to coming to Princeton, she taught at the University of Texas at Austin.
Currently, she is working on a book manuscript that looks at more than 50 contemporary national border walls and fences that are proposed, under construction, or completed since 2001. It looks at how this infrastructure coincides with the age of the drone and emergent nationalisms, and it considers how walls are an important site to examine the re-investiture and re-entrenchment of globalized registers of racism, racial hierarchy, and difference. In the context of her doctoral research she was a visiting researcher at University of Texas at Austin Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies-Benson for one year, and at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales de la Universidad de Costa Rica.