Dr. Brittany Gilmer

Associate Professor
Undergraduate Program Director


  • PhD University of Toronto, Geography
  • MS University of Wisconsin-Madison, Urban and Regional Planning
  • BA University of Wisconsin-Madison, Political Science

Research Areas

  • Violence
  • Illicit geographies
  • Legal geographies
  • Maritime crime


Dr. Gilmer’s research and teaching focus on the relationship between the illicit, violence, territory, and structures of power. She is currently examining piracy ransom kidnappings and experiences of violence and care in captivity. She is the author of the book Political Geographies of Piracy (Palgrave, 2014), and her work has appeared in the British Journal of Criminology, Feminist Criminology, Geoforum, and Third World Quarterly. Dr. Gilmer is a former consultant with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Counter Piracy Programme (since renamed the Global Maritime Crime Programme) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Selected Publications

Wakeham, J., and Gilmer, B. (2020) Care in Uncaring Places: Exploring Somali Piracy Hostage Incidents. British Journal of Criminology. 60(5): 1242-1259.

Gilmer, Brittany. (2019) Invisible Pirates: Women and the Gendered Roles of Somali Piracy. Feminist Criminology. 14(3): 371-388.

Gilmer, Brittany and Britanee Kane. (2019) Counter Piracy Programming and Potential Barriers to Reintegrating Pirates: An African Restorative Justice Critique. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice. 58: 12-21.

Gilmer, Brittany and Caroline Comerford. (2019) Promoting pirate prisons: exploring the intersections of narratives, media, and criminal justice reform in East Africa. Crime, Law and Social Change. 71(4): 403-421.

Gilmer, B. (2017) Hedonists and Husbands: Piracy Narratives, Gender Demands, and Local Political Economic Realities in Somalia. Third World Quarterly. 38(6): 1366-1380.

Gilmer, Brittany. (2017) Somali Piracy Prisoners and Biopolitical Penal Aid in East Africa. Punishment & Society. 19(1): 115-131.

Gilmer, B. (2016) Fishermen, Pirates, and the Politics of Aid: An Analysis of the Somali Fishermen Registration Programme. Geoforum. 77: 106-113.