Environmental Humanities

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In an era of climate emergency, questions relating to food, energy, water, land, and environment have become ever more urgent, as humans interrogate their relation to the rest of nature and seek to imagine more emancipatory organizations of nature-society. The Environmental Humanities bring humanistic modes of inquiry and creative praxis to bear on environmental challenges, emphasizing the capacity of cultural critique to illuminate ethical and political questions relating to ecological crises. Our research group considers questions on diverse geographical and chronological scales, exploring how ideas and histories of nature, the non-human, environment, ecology, landscape, waterscape, place, infrastructure, or resources change over time, and devising new imaginaries of future transformations.

Research Aims

UCD Environmental Humanities brings together researchers from across the Arts and Humanities at UCD whose work addresses issues of climate, energy, environment, food, land and water. The group provides a space for connection and collaboration between scholars in disciplines including Classics, English, Folklore Studies, History, and Language and Linguistics. Our members’ expertise spans from Antiquity to the present day and covers a wide range of geographies. We are also home to a lively and supportive doctoral and postdoctoral community. We host regular lectures, conferences and public events, and collaborate with external partners.



Environmental Humanities scholarship at UCD has been supported by grants from prestigious funders including the European Research Council; the Irish Research Council, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Fulbright Commission; the Norwegian Research Council; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; and Enterprise Ireland, as well as having considerable success in being awarded funding through competitive internal funding schemes.

Theme Leads

Dr. Sharae Deckard
Dr. Sharae Deckard Associate Professor in World Literature at UCD
Director of UCD Environmental Humanities, Sharae's research interests intersect environmental criticism and world-systems approaches to world literature, ecology, and culture. In Autumn 2020, she joined Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee as academic Series Editor of Palgrave's New Comparisons in World Literature series. She is the Director of the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand, and a member of the "Environmental Humanities" Steering Group for the Irish Humanities Alliance.

Her books include a monograph, Paradise Discourse, Imperialism and Globalization (Routledge 2010) and Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (co-authored with the Warwick Research Collective, Liverpool UP 2015; translated into Portuguese for Unicamp, 2020). With Rashmi Varma, she is co-editor of Marxism, Postcolonial Theory, and the Future of Critique: Critical Engagements with Benita Parry (Routledge 2018), and with Stephen Shapiro, she is editor of World Literature, Neoliberalism and the Culture of Discontent (Palgrave 2019), winner of the BACLS Edited Collection Prize.

Sharae has edited five special issues of journals, and has also published multiple articles on postcolonial ecocriticism and world-ecology in journals including Interventions, JPW, MLQ, CLC, Atlantic Studies, Green Letters, Moving Worlds, and various edited collections, companions and handbooks. She is currently editing a Routledge Companion to Literature and Environment, and a special issue on social reproduction theory and world literature. She has a particular interest in questions of genre, including peripheral realism, 'critical irrealism,' ecogothic, weird fiction, and postcolonial sf and cli-fi.
Dr. Hannah Boast
Dr. Hannah Boast Assistant Professor and Ad Astra Fellow in World Literature
Hannah's main research interests are in environmental politics in postcolonial and world literatures, especially the issue of water. Her first monograph Hydrofictions: Water, Power and Politics in Israeli and Palestinian Literature was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020 and shortlisted for the ASLE-UKI 2021 Prize for Best Academic Monograph in Ecocriticism and the Environmental Humanities. She has published articles in Green Letters, Humanities, Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Textual Practice .

She is currently working on her second monograph, Water Crisis and World Literature, which explores literary engagements with contemporary hydropolitics from Canada, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom.