Ph.D. Candidates Reflect on the Environmental Humanities

Corrie Ellis, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology.

“What I am most interested in is the interconnection between the environment and society…the humanities have an important role to play [here] in terms of creating [a] culture change and communicating to people about environmental degradation and imagining a better future.”

“I see myself as a scholar activist, being that I am engaged in activism with the people who I’m researching. I’d like to make a difference through my community and doing research that is actually useful for these movements that are resisting corporations that are contributing to climate change.”

Jeremy Chow, Ph.D. Candidate, English.

“When I first arrived here at UCSB the environment wasn’t one of my primary focuses, [but I soon] realized that UCSB has a strong contingent of faculty members that focus on [it].”

“My particular focus is on water…I look at the ways in which environmental and specifically aqueous discussion surround discussions also of futurity…[Through 18th maritime fiction] I  want to look at the characterization of water and the environment as it provides both life, but as it also can foreclose that sense of futurity.”

Baron Haber, Ph.D. Candidate, English.

“Throughout my early childhood and into my college years, outdoor activities like hiking and backing, these were major parts of what I did for fun and also how I formed my identity.”

“As I’ve studied it more, I’ve come to see that nature has been used as a tool to discipline people and to enforce ideas of race and gender. I want to start unpacking [these ideas]…I want to understand can we appreciate nature without necessarily having to look at it in racist or sexist or other normative terms.”

Tom Doran, Ph.D. Candidate, English.

“I started writing about animal representation and issues of animal representation not really knowing that there were pretty fully formed fields like Ecocriticism or Animal studies, and when I learned about [these] more I decided to start a PhD.”

“I taught a course last year on cultural representations of animal rights and environmental justice…for Environmental Studies and English students [where they] created group project proposals for addressing some kind of environmental issue. The way they went about this was, ‘how could we combine our humanistic and scientific fields of knowledge in order to address [the issue].”