Research Overview



“Speculative Diasporas: Hari Kunzru’s Historical Consciousness, the Rhetoric of Interplanetary Colonization, and the Locus-Colonial Novel.” New Directions in Diaspora Studies: Cultural and Literary Approaches, edited by Sarah Ilott, Ana Cristina Mendes, and Lucinda Newns, Rowman & Littlefield, 2018, pp. 55-68. 

“We’re Alive: The Resurrection of the Audio Drama in the Anthropocene.” Philological Quarterly 93.3 (2014): 361-81. Special Issue: Genres of Climate Change. 



My dissertation project, Postcolonial Cli-Fi: Advocacy and the Novel Form in the Anthropocene, considers the capabilities and limitations of novels to galvanize action in response to environmental crises through the filters of postcolonial theory, environmental humanities, and digital humanities. My findings suggest that novels are well equipped to engage in environmental education, although some of the form’s conventions must be disrupted to fully capitalize upon its strengths. The modern novel is conventionally limited in scope, often resorts to apocalyptic narratives that can breed hopelessness, is dedicated to a form of realism that belies the dramatic weather events exacerbated by climate change, defers authority to a single voice, and is logocentric. By supplementing conventional novels with a variety of paratexts, including digital tools, scientific findings, non-fiction accounts of past, present, and future activism, and authorial biography, it is my contention that the novel’s potency as a pedagogical tool increases. 

After addressing this project’s stakes and contexts in my Introduction, Chapter II assesses three South Asian novels in English that are concerned with sustainable development: Bhabani Bhattacharya’s Shadow from Ladakh, Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine, and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. I conclude by considering how StoryMaps might further disrupt pro-sustainable development propaganda alongside more traditional novels. Chapter III examines how explicitly activist South Asian novelists construct authorial personae that propose additional solutions to the environmental problems identified in their novels, focusing on Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide and Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People. Chapter IV coins the term “locus-colonial novel,” a novel that decenters the human, situating place at the fulcrum of a work of historical fiction, using Hari Kunzru’s Gods without Men as one exemplar. I examine Kunzru’s novel alongside promotional materials for planned Mars missions to consider how narratives of settler colonialism on Earth might lead to a more socially and environmentally sustainable colonial model for Mars. Chapter V introduces the concept of a digital locus-colonial novel that allows users to develop informed, environmentally focused scenarios for colonial Mars. Through these chapters, my dissertation identifies specific rhetorical techniques that allow conscientious novels to create imaginative spaces where readers might explore solutions to the social, economic, and increasingly environmental problems facing human populations worldwide.


Selected Papers Presented

"The Crest of Development's 'Terrific Wave.'" ASLE Twelfth Biennial Conference, Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery. Wayne State University: Detroit, MI, 2017.

“Speculative Diasporas: Hari Kunzru’s Historical Consciousness, the Rhetoric of Interplanetary Colonization, and the Locus-Colonial Novel.” 14th International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities. University of Illinois at Chicago: Chicago, IL. 2016.         

“We’re Alive: The Revival of the Audio Drama in the Anthropocene.” Notes from the Underground: ASLE Biennial Conference. University of Idaho: Moscow, ID.   2015.

“Speculative Migrations: The Rhetoric of Interstellar Colonization.” 4th Annual Climate Change Research Symposium. University of Oregon: Eugene, OR. 2015.  

“Honeybees, Migrant Labor, and the Commodification of Sadness in Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper.” Reading Animals. University of Sheffield: Sheffield, UK. 2014.  

“Crowd Control: Textual Gossip and Cultural Dissemination in the Works of John Rechy.” National Association for Ethnic Studies 39th Annual Conference. Claremont Graduate University: Santa Barbara, CA. 2009.    

Panels Organized

“(In)Visible Nexus: Insights on Climate Change from the Humanities.” 4th Annual Climate Change Research Symposium. University of Oregon: Eugene, OR. 2015.

“Crosscurrents: Environmental Humanities.” Engagement: Community Creativity Connections, Graduate Student Research Forum. University of Oregon: Eugene, OR. 2014.

Invited Talks

“Re-Shuffling the Deck: The New WR 121.” Teaching Magic, Composition Conference. University of Oregon: Eugene, OR. 2015.

“The Animal, the Subaltern, and a More Inclusive Politics of Agency in The Hungry Tide.” Environmental Arts and Humanities Graduate Conference. Oregon State University: Corvallis, OR. 2015.

"Re-routing: Revision Strategies." Mapping Composition: Surveying the Writing Classroom, Composition Conference. University of Oregon: Eugene, OR. 2015.