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Dr Cordelia Freeman

Dr Cordelia Freeman

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography & Director of Postgraduate Research


 01392 723262

 Amory c253b


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


I am a feminist political geographer who works interdisciplinarily and joined the department as a Lecturer in April 2020. My work is broadly on borders, mobility and violence and to date has almost entirely been in Latin America. I am currently working on a Wellcome Trust and ESRC funded research project looking at abortion im/mobilities across Latin America. Academic publications from this work can be found under the 'publications' tab and my creative and engaged projects can be found under the 'external engagement and impact' tab.

Broad Research Specialisms

  • Reproductive justice, primarily abortion access in Latin America

  • Borders and border violence

  • Feminist geopolitics

  • The politics of representation

PhD Supervision

I would be happy to supervise appropriate projects relating to these themes. Please get in touch by email to discuss potential supervision. As the Director of Postgraduate Resarch for Human Geography you can also get in touch with me to discuss doing a PhD in the department more broadly. 


Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Nottingham

PhD in Human Geography, University of Nottingham

MA in Landscape & Culture (Human Geography), University of Nottingham

BA in Human Geography, University of Nottingham

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Research interests

My current research covers three main areas:

1. Abortion Mobilities in Latin America

My research concerns the spatiality of reproductive health in Latin America. I am interested in the spatial dynamics of abortion access and the ways in which abortion prohibition has been resisted using different technologies. My interest in mobility and the regulation of mobility takes into account both bodies that move and medication and medical technologies that are transported. This research is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the ESRC and academic papers that have come out of this work are published in Annals of the AAGSignsProgress in Human Geography, International Feminist Journal of PoliticsMobilities, Feminist Anthropology and Gender, Place & Culture. It has also led to a graphic novel on abortion in Mexico, a global abortion database project, original podcasts, and you can hear podcasts about my research here and here. The project website can be found here

2. The Politics of Representation

I am interested in the politics of popular culture, the power that the representations that we consume have and what they tell us about ourselves. With this in mind I have written about my reflections on co-producing a graphic novel about abortion, the portrayal of abortion medications on screen, the representation of the 'abortion road trip' in film and novels, the representation of abortion in 'feminist' television, border geopolitics in Latin American film, and queer sexuality in music videos. I have also put this work into practice through a range of creative and engaged projects.

3. Borders and Geopolitics

Questions of 'the border' and processes of bordering run through my research with a particular focus on borders in Latin America. These interests have resulted in research on historical everyday geopolitics on the Chile-Peru border, military violence on the Chile-Peru border, and reflections on borders in historical geography.

PhD Research (2012-2015)

My PhD thesis, 'Violence on the Chile-Peru Border: Arica 1925-2015' examined the history of violence in one border city, Arica in northern Chile, to understand how over the past ninety years violence has shaped and has been shaped by the Chile-Peru border. In particular I explored the following themes:

- Biopolitics and health at borders with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS and abortion

- The role of international diplomacy and law in demarcating and managing global borders, both on land and sea

- The economics of the borderlands, contrasting state and regional initiatives and management

- Military violence in the borderlands

Research projects

2022-2023. ODA Grant ‘Taking Care: A documentary film about abortion care practices in Peru’ (PI) £20,814

2022-2023.  WCCEH Transformative Research Award ‘Emotion, politics and protest: Visualising political mobilisation and resistance in Peru’ (PI) £19,931

2021-2023. ESRC New Investigator Grant. ‘Abortion Mobilities: Travel and transport for reproductive rights across Latin America’. (PI) £289,634

2019-2021. Wellcome Trust Grant. 'Abortion Border Crossings in Latin America'. (PI) £51,268

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Journal articles

Freeman C (In Press). Feeling Better: Representing abortion in ‘feminist’ television. Culture, Health & Sexuality
Freeman C (In Press). Multiple methods beyond triangulation: collage as a methodological framework in geography. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography
Chaparro-Buitrago J, Freeman C (In Press). Reproductive Justice and the Figure of the Child: the Multiple Harms of Forced Sterilization and Abortion in Peru. Feminist Anthropology
Freeman C, Rodríguez S (In Press). The chemical geographies of misoprostol: Spatializing abortion access from the biochemical to the global. Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Freeman C, Rodriguez S (2024). The Making of Clandestinity: 'Strategic Ignorance' in Abortion Practices in Latin America. International Feminist Journal of Politics Abstract.
Duffy DN, Freeman C, Rodríguez Castañeda S (2023). Beyond the State: Abortion care activism in Peru. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 48, 609-634. Abstract.
Freeman C, Nandagiri R (2023). No 'bad' abortions: Graphic abortion narratives as feminist discourse. MAI: FEMINISM & VISUAL CULTURE, 10 Abstract.
Drovetta RI, Freeman C, Rúa A (2023). Self-care for abortion activists and providers: lessons of law and risk from Argentina. BMJ Sex Reprod Health, 49(4), 308-309.  Author URL.
Freeman C (2022). Book review: Littlejohn, Krystale E. (2021) Just get on the pill: the uneven burden of reproductive politics. University of California Press: Oakland, CA. Gender, Place and Culture
Freeman C (2022). McPherson, Alan (2019) Ghosts of Sheridan Circle: How a Washington Assassination Brought Pinochet’s Terror State to Justice. The University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill), 392 pp. £36.50 hbk. Bulletin of Latin American Research
Calkin S, Freeman C, Moore F (2022). The geography of abortion: Discourse, spatiality and mobility. Prog Hum Geogr, 46(6), 1413-1430. Abstract.  Author URL.
Freeman C, Engle O (2022). ‘All this way, all this money, for a five-minute procedure’: Barriers, mobilities, and representation on the US abortion road trip. Mobilities Abstract.
Hope J, Freeman C, Maclean K, Pande R, Sou G (2021). Shifts to Global Development: is this a reframing of power, agency, and progress?. Area, 54(2), 154-158. Abstract.
Freeman C (2021). The desert, the border, and the city: Staging a spectacle on the Chile-Peru border. Political Geography, 87
Freeman C (2020). Viapolitics and the emancipatory possibilities of abortion mobilities. Mobilities, 15(6), 896-910. Abstract.
Freeman C (2019). Filming female desire: queering the gaze of pop music videos. Cultural Studies Abstract.
Freeman C (2019). Historical Everyday Geopolitics on the Chile-Peru Border. BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH
Calkin S, Freeman C (2018). Trails and technology: social and cultural geographies of abortion access. Social & Cultural Geography, 20(9), 1325-1332.
Rodríguez A, Freeman C (2017). El estudiante y la frontera: una aproximación a los imaginarios geográficos en el Norte de Chile. Espacios, 6(11), 110-110. Abstract.
Freeman C (2017). The crime of choice: abortion border crossings from Chile to Peru. Gender, Place and Culture, 24(6), 851-868. Abstract.
Freeman C (2013). IDENTITY AND THE MILITARIZED BORDER: MI MEJOR ENEMIGO (CHILE, 2005). Espaço e Cultura, 0(33).


Freeman C (2023). The Abortion Pill and Other Myths: Medication Abortion on Screen. In Boudreau B, Maloy K (Eds.) Abortion in Popular Culture: a Call to Action, Lexington Books, 177-200. Abstract.
Freeman C (2020). Borders. In Domosh M, Withers C, Heffernan M (Eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography, SAGE.
Freeman C, Calkin S (2019). Feminism/Feminist Geography. In Kobayashi A (Ed) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Elsevier. Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact

Creative/Collaborative Projects

Through my interests in the politics of representation and the political nature of my research, I have been PI on a range of non-academic projects in collaboration with partners in Latin America:

1. COMIC: SERA DESEADA. 2021/22.

Será Deseada is a graphic novel about experiences of abortion in Mexico. It was co-produced with the Mexican reproductive justice organisation Fondo MARIA and it tells the story of three women accessing abortions in Mexico City. The free pdf of the comic is available in both Spanish and English.


The 'Find Your Abortion Project' is a collaboration with Women on Web/Women on Waves, an NGO that shares information about safe access to abortion around the world. FYAP is an online tool designed to help women and pregnant people seeking abortion find the support and access they need in their country. It is a uniquely collaborative project based on an open-source model of people sharing their experiences and tips on accessing abortion care in their country, despite local regulations and obstacles. 


This set of investigative journalism podcasts was produced with CLIM (Colectiva por la Libre Información para las Mujeres) to share information about abortion in Peru, particularly about the abortion pill misoprostol and the prcatice of abortion accompaniment. The episode 'Saberes Clandestinos' (Clandestine knowledges) can be listened to here and 'Te acompaño' (I accompany you) can be listened to here


This short documentary, produced by CLIM (Colectiva por la Libre Información para las Mujeres) follows a young woman as she shares her experience of supporting two friends to access abortins in Lima, Peru. The film is currently being screened at short film festivals and will be released after.


This project developed in response to the political protests in Peru from December 2022 and the violent repression that protestors faced. The experiences of protestors from Puno is told through a comic book and a children's book, co-produced through art workshops with children in Chota tells their experiences of politics in rural Peru. 


Invited Talks:

I have given invited talks about my research at institutions including UCL, LSE, Trinity College Dublin, University of Buenos Aires, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, and University of Cambridge.

Committee Positions:

  • 2020- Conference Officer, Latin American Geographies Research Group (of the RGS-IBG)
  • 2020-2023 Committee Member, Political Geography Research Group (of the RGS-IBG)
  • 2014-2020 Social Media & Website Officer, Travel Prize Co-ordinator, Development Geographies Research Group (of the RGS-IBG)

External Examiner Positions:

  • 2020-2024 University of Chester, Geography and Development Programmes

Professional Memberships:

  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Member of the American Association of Geographers
  • Member of the Society for Latin American Studies
  • Member of the Latin American Studies Association
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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