Dr. Olson is thrilled to begin her first year teaching Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Oxford College. Her research interests include contemporary social and political thought, critical theory, feminist and queer politics, and social movements. Dr. Olson's book manuscript The Promise(s) of Resilience: Governance and Resistance in Complex Times offers a critical examination of the rise and circulation of the concept of “resilience” within 21stCentury political life and the ways it is fundamentally re-ordering peoples’ understanding of themselves, the world, and possibilities of action. Grounding her analysis in a wide breadth of empirical case studies—from the United Nation’s refugee policies and post-Katrina “regeneration” programs to self-help literature and social movements—she shows how resilience discourses work to produce a sustainable human infrastructure capable of upholding the crisis conditions of late capitalism. Dr. Olson has published peer-reviewed articles/chapters in The Journal for a New Political Science, Wagadu: Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies and in Agitation with a Smile: Howard Zinn’s Legacies and the Future of Activism (Paradigm 2013). She has received the “Christian Bay Award” for the paper presented at APSA that “best exemplifies the goal of New Political Science: making the study of politics relevant to the struggle for a better world.” She received the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Olson is currently serving as program chair for the New Political Science division at the APSA 2018 annual meeting.
Prior to Olson's academic life, she toured internationally for over a decade as a spoken word artist, regularly appearing in media outlets like HBO's Def Poetry Jam, Air America (with Rachel Maddow), NPR, and WXPN. Olson has published widely within popular media including in Ms. and Curve Magazines, co-authoring Burning Down The House (Soft Skull Press, 2002), and editing the first U.S. all-women’s spoken word anthology Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press, 2007) which bell hooks calls an anthology “to resurrect you.” She has produced three spoken word albums and poetry books and the award-winning documentary film Left Lane: On The Road With Alix Olson. Dr. Olson has lectured and taught social justice, art and politics, and writing workshops and performed spoken word poetry at over 300 colleges and universities and at political conferences, high schools, prisons across the United States and internationally.
BA| Wesleyan University| 1998
MA| University of Massachusetts, Amherst| 2013
PhD| University of Massachusetts, Amherst| 2018
Manuscript in Preparation
Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters
Articles in Preparation
“The Labor of Social Justice,” Commencement Speaker, Smith College (School of Social Work), August 14, 2015.
“Engaging Politics,” Presented at the invitation of APSA’s Siting and Engagement Committee (SEC) to present at the annual meeting roundtable on the social responsibility of APSA and the profession, Chicago, IL, 2013.
“On Writing Political Life,” Woodstock Writers Festival, Woodstock, NY. May 10, 2012.
“The Cost of Decorative Diversity,” 2nd Annual Interrogating Diversity Conference: Representation, Power and Social Justice, American University, Washington, DC, March 13, 2008.
“Doing Power/Thinking Power,” 5thAnnual Women Power and Peace Conference, Omega Institute, September 14-16, 2007.
“Against Beauty,” The Student Body: A Celebration of Women's Beauty, Knox College, TN.February 24-26, 2006.
“Art as Activism,” Feminist Action at Middlebury Symposium: Art as Activism: Exploring the Intersection of Rape, Pornography, and Violence, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, April 7, 2005.
“When The World Is Too Much,”16thAnnual Women and Society Conference, Marist College, October 25, 2007.
“Recasting Feminism in the Academy,” A Third Wave Feminist Conference, University of Colorado-Boulder, March 10, 2005.
“Can We Stand Together? Thoughts and Perspectives on the Women’s March on Washington,” UMASS Amherst, Feb. 13, 2017.
“Queering the Generations,” LGBT Life Over the Past 25 Years, UMass-Amherst, October 6, 2010.
"From Mars to ," National Women's Studies Association, Atlanta, GA, 2018
“Resilient Conscripts: Theorizing Resistance in Complex Times,” National Women’s Studies Association, Montreal, Canada, 2016.
“Pinkwashing Protest,” Midwestern Political Science Association, Chicago, IL. 2014.
“Queer(y)ing Permanent Partnership,” American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, 2013. [Winner of American Political Science Association’s Christian Bay Best Paper Award]
“Neoliberalization of the Permanent Partner,” Midwestern Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, IL, 2013.
“Archiving Optimism,” Northeastern Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, 2011.