Participant Bio’s

Professor Peter Alagona

Pete Alagona is an associate professor of history, geography, and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before coming to UCSB, Pete received his PhD in history from UCLA and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard and Stanford. An environmental historian, historian of science, and nature-culture geographer, his work explores what happens when humans share space and resources (their habitats) with other species: how we interact with non-human creatures, how we make sense of these interactions, why we fight so much about them, what we can learn from them, and how we might use these lessons to foster a more just and sustainable society. Pete is the author of more than four-dozen publications, including After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California (California, 2013).

Dr. Ellen Bassett

Ellen M. Bassett is an Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning and the incoming chair for the department. Her areas of research interest and expertise are land use planning and law, climate change planning, health and the built environment, and international development. She is particularly interested in community decision-making around land and natural resources, including understanding how different societies and cultures create institutions (like property rights systems or policies) for their management. One current research project is focused on planning reform in Kenya, a topic for which she received support from the US Fulbright program during the 2013-2014 academic year. In a nutshell, in the last several years Kenya has radically reformed its system of governance by passing a new Constitution and establishing a new form of local government known as “devolution.” Her research is looking at these changes relative to urban land management and physical planning, with the overarching objective of understanding what these institutional changes mean for urban areas and for urban residents, including slum dwellers. She is a co-lab leader of the African Urbanism Humanities Lab with Jim Igoe of Anthropology.


Dr. Siobhan Carroll

Siobhan Carroll is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware, where she specializes in British literature from 1750-1850 and in modern science fiction and fantasy. Professor Carroll’s first book, An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination1750-1850 (U. Penn 2015), describes the complicated relationship between literature, science, and exploration during the growth of the British Empire. Her current book project, Circulating Nature: Planetary Politics in the Transatlantic Imagination1791-1914, examines how Americans, Canadians and Britons came to view Nature as a global phenomenon. Her research and teaching interests include 18th and 19th century British literature, imperialism, nationalism, the environmental imagination, and maritime studies. A writer as well as a critic of speculative fiction, she also contributes genre-blurring stories to magazines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Lightspeed. A complete list of her published fiction can be found at 

Dr. Anthony Chaney

I teach history and writing at the University of North Texas-Dallas, an urban campus serving the under-resourced population of the city’s southern sector. Raised by Texans in Illinois, I moved to Dallas to play music. To support myself, I earned an MAT from the School for International Training and taught ESL for over a decade. Later I earned a PhD in the History of Ideas at the University of Texas-Dallas. My book, Runaway: Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological Consciousness, comes out in October from UNC Press. With Bateson’s biography as a narrative backdrop, the book explores the resonance of Bateson’s double bind concept in social science, politics, biology and aesthetics, and traces its development from clinical psychology to its current use in the discourse of environmentalism. I live in downtown Dallas with my wife Andrea and our two children. In my profession, I’m Anthony, but please call me by my middle name—Bart—as my friends and family do.


relevant publications: Runaway, Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological ConsciousnessAn Expressway Runs Through It

Renee D’Aoust

Renée E. D’Aoust teaches online at Casper College and North Idaho College and is the managing editor of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. Her first book, Body of a Dancer (Etruscan Press), was a Foreword Reviews “Book of the Year” finalist. Her essays and book reviews have been widely published, including, most recently, in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Sweet. D’Aoust volunteers as a mentor in AWP’s Writer-to-Writer program and as an Idaho Master Forest Steward, which includes writing for Women Owning Woodlands. D’Aoust holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Columbia University, and she lives in Idaho and in Switzerland.


relevant publications: Line of No TreesAn Ethical Relationship with PlaceThe End of the Line

Dr. Derek Denman

Since receiving my PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University in 2015, I have taught classes in political theory as an adjunct faculty member at Towson University, Goucher College, and Loyola University Maryland. In October 2017 I will join the Department of Ethics, Law, and Politics at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity as a research fellow. My research and teaching interests examine the relationship between cities and democratic society in the history of political thought. In particular, my work considers how classical and contemporary political theory can provide philosophical resources to theorize a right to the city in the face of increasingly militarized urban spaces marked by walls, fortifications, surveillance practices, and enclosed architectural design.

Dr. Sarah Dooling

I have 17 years of experience in urban ecology, social work, and wildlife management. I have worked as a field biologist, social worker, university educator and researcher. I am trained in interdisciplinary approaches to environmental planning, green infrastructure development and urban ecological issues. I collaborate on projects that integrate ecological design, environmental planning and social equity. I am an expert on the social justice and equity dimensions of ecological design projects. I developed the idea of ecological gentrification, which describes the economic hardships experienced by low-income households created by greening up neighborhoods. Currently, I assist municipal staff, local policy makers and non-profits to develop strategies that promote economic stability and ecological diversity. I also assist universities in developing interdisciplinary degree programs that integrate science and design.

relevant publications: Ecological Gentrification: A Research Agenda Exploring Justice in the CityNovel Landscapes: Challenges and Opportunities for Educating Future Ecological Designers and Restoration PractitionersA Rough Guide to Interdisciplinarity: Graduate Student Perspectives

Dr. Mary Draper

Mary graduated with her doctorate in history from the University of Virginia in 2016. Her dissertation,” The Tropical Metropolis: Cities and Society in the Early Modern British Caribbean,” is an urban environmental history of three of the most dynamic and neglected port cities in colonial America and the Atlantic world: Bridgetown (Barbados), Port Royal (Jamaica), and Kingston (Jamaica). It charts the founding, development, and integration of these three port cities as key nodes for slavery, commerce, and empire from the seventeenth century, when they were sandy outposts on the imperial frontier, through the age of Atlantic revolutions, when Kingston and Bridgetown were the fourth and fifth—and, after 1776, the first and second—most populous cities in British America. She is particularly interested in the ways in which the natural world, the built environment, and economic processes intersected to shape urban life.

Dr. Rebecca Evans

Rebecca Evans is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Winston-Salem State University. She holds a PhD in English from Duke University. Her research focuses on contemporary American literature and culture, social and environmental justice, and science fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, The Cambridge History of Science Fiction, Women’s Studies Quarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Public Books. Her current book project identifies structural violence as a defining but representationally challenging feature of contemporary life that has shaped the form, style, and content of American literature and activism since the 1960s. A second project examines the role that speculative genres play in articulating environmental citizenship in the context of climate change and the global climate justice movement.

Professor Adrienne Greve

I am a Seattle native that ran as far away as I could for college (Ithaca, NY) and spent the intervening ten years finding my way back for a PhD at the UW. The longest pit stop on the way back across the US was in Colorado where I completed my masters and worked for the USGS as a surface water hydrologist. Following my PhD, I ultimately settled in the state Seattleites love to hate, California. My research tends to combine my engineering background with the host of systems operating in an urban context. I have spent most of the last ten years investigating climate change from an applied perspective (local and state planning or guidance efforts) to research on the process, understanding, and conception of climate change issues. Climate change has the potential to directly or indirectly affect nearly every component of an urban system making the work incredibly interesting, diverse, and often challenging. Part of that diversity is the level of spatial-specificity in understanding potential impacts and solutions. I spent a year as a visiting professor at Kyoto University, where I was able to focus on community self-organizing following the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear) on the Tohoku coast. I saw in these activities a component of community response too often left out of formal governmental action. Other areas of research include urban ecology, interdisciplinary education, and urban streams and stormwater.

Dr. Valerie Johnson

Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson is Mott Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies and Director of Africana Women’s Studies at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She holds a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in Sociology from Clark-Atlanta University; and B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College. Her research and publications, conducted in Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, the Seychelles Islands and the US, center on gender, bioethics, disability, the health of women and girls, and environmental justice. In North Carolina, Dr. Johnson conducts foodways research on the African American church supper and food justice and she has just initiated a project examining African American attitudes toward “nature spaces.” She is working on an edited volume, with colleague Dr. Karima Jeffrey, of science fiction writings by Black women and girls. With Dr. Crystal Moten, Dr. Johnson is compiling and editing an interactive, intersectional database on women, gender and slavery. Dr. Johnson chairs the NC African American Heritage Commission, serves on the NC Historical Commission, National Register Advisory Committee, and is member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, the Ms. Committee of Scholars, and steering committee for the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University.


Dr. Rebecca Jones

I grew up on the ocean in North Carolina and now live in the woods in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have spent most of my life in the South along with a few years in Colorado and South Texas. Most of these years have been in small to mid sized cities where my home was usually on the outskirts. However, I am increasingly interested in the ways people who live in the heart of cities engage with nature. I have grown to love forests, both the humid dense woods of the southern Appalachians and the tall rugged conifers of the west, but my heart is with the ocean. I’m looking forward to three weeks near water. Currently, I am an associate professor of Rhetoric and Writing and the director of graduate studies in the English Department at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. I teach classes in public argument, rhetorical theory, and public writing. This summer I’m teaching a class titled Science and Nature writing and in early June took my first group of college kids on a weekend long camping trip. I’d like to make this a permanent course that I teach once a year. In addition to starting a new research project on public writing on science and nature, I hope to use this seminar to rethink this course.


Dr. David Karmon

David Karmon (Associate Professor, Holy Cross; PhD, Harvard University), studies the history of buildings and cities in the early modern period. Several of his publications examine the history of archaeology and changing approaches to preservation, including his book The Ruin of the Eternal City: Antiquity and Preservation in Renaissance Rome (Oxford University Press 2011). He is now working on a new a book on architecture, urbanism, and sensory experience titled The Varieties of Architectural Experience: Early Modern Architecture and the Senses.

Dr. Daniel Maher

Daniel Maher is a cultural anthropologist who studies cultural heritage tourism. The working title of his current project is Mythic Pioneers of the Tallgrass Prairie: From Wilderness to Wilder and Back. Tourist narratives at tallgrass prairie and bison restoration sites will be examined and compared to pioneer villages, museums, and Little House on the Prairie sites. This relates to the City/Nature Institute in that the ways in which all these tourist sites frame the relationship of human beings to this particular ecosystem will be analyzed. While pioneers are glorified at some sites, they destroyed the vast majority of tallgrass prairie. On the other hand, North American Indians are romanticized and placed in a virgin landscape in their depiction at bison and prairie preserves. Where and how the line is drawn between city and nature, humans and their environment appears to be quite relative to who draws the distinction. I am looking forward to exploring this line during the Institute.


Dr. Jonathan Maskit

My philosophical work focuses on the built environment, urban transportation, the relationship between culture and nature, and other related themes. I am currently editing Humanity and Nature: Continental Philosophy and the Environment (to be published by Rowman & Littlefield Intl. in 2018) and writing Bicycle (under contract for Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series). The overarching theme of my work is what I call The Aesthetics of Sustainable Living. I am interested in the connections between energy and material consumption and human fulfillment and in particular with this question: can a more sustainable life be as or even more fulfilling than a less sustainable one? My chapter in Humanity and Nature will take up this theme as will the monograph to be written after Bicycle. My articles and book chapters to date have focused on urban space and transit, postindustrial renovation, environmental and everyday aesthetics, and consumption. I regularly teach courses on environmental philosophy; environmental and everyday aesthetics; the aesthetics of everyday life; and urban environmental philosophy.


Dr. Sarah Moore

My work as a scholar and teacher of American art and cultural history is animated by questions regarding the shifting terrain of identities, geographies, and place(s). Positioned at the nexus of debates about the expanding purview of and fluid boundaries in American art and its scholarship, my research considers the degree to which objects are embedded within dense and overlapping social, cultural, historical, and ecological contexts and expressive of their materiality—objectness—that moves through and is situated in space. World’s fairs, in particular, provide the intellectual, spatial, historical, and interdisciplinary contexts in which my research is focused, considering such spectacles as representational technologies through which conflicting ideas and debates about culture, nation, nature, progress, empire, race, gender, place, among others, are produced, performed, and disseminated. Likewise, my teaching has always framed “American” art as a fluid discourse, shifting body of material, and set of questions rather than a discreet corpus bound by geography.

Dr. Kelema Moses

Kelema Lee Moses is an assistant professor of Art History at Occidental College where she teaches courses in modern and contemporary architectural history and urban design. She specializes in U.S. colonial/neo-colonial urbanism and community development in the Pacific. Her current research focuses on the architecture of public and militarized spaces within the region. Her work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Society of Architectural Historians, the East-West Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State. She has published in the volume, Colonial Frames/Nationalist Histories: Imperial Legacies, Architecture and Modernity, as well as The Chicago Art Journal and The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History.

Professor Eric Perramond

Eric P. Perramond is an Associate Professor of Southwest Studies and Environmental Science at Colorado College, where he teaches for both Southwest Studies and the Environmental Program. He regularly teaches a Nature, Region, and Society of the Southwest course, an advanced seminar on Political Ecology of the Southwest, and a conservation-focused course on Environmental Management. He has published widely in geography and interdisciplinary journals, such as the Geographical Review, Area, Geoforum, and the Journal of Political Ecology. His first book was released in 2010 (Political Ecologies of Cattle Ranching in Northern Mexico: Private Revolutions, Arizona University Press, 2010). The second was a co-authored project on environments and society (An Introduction to Human Environment Geography, WILEY, 2013). Eric grew up in a bilingual household (French and English) and is personally and professionally fascinated with the way that peoples and environments shape each other over time. His pan-Mediterranean and borderland interests led him to study and acquire Spanish as a third language, largely acquired during his long stays in Mexico. Professor Perramond’s commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry belies his three degrees in the academic discipline of geography. Since completing his PhD in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999, he has only taught in Liberal Arts College environments. Since arriving at Colorado College in 2005, Professor Perramond has been actively involved in numerous interdisciplinary initiatives, including the development of the Southwest Studies major, and a new Environmental Policy track within the Environmental Program. He has lived extensively in France and leads field excursions throughout the American Southwest.


Dr. Alexandria Poole

Dr. Alexandria Poole is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Legal Studies at Elizabethtown College. She is also Associate Managing Editor of the international journal Environmental Ethics. She utilizes the biocultural approach in her research and teaching, which celebrates the interrelation of biological, linguistic and cultural diversity. Her primary research interests are comparative environmental philosophy, environmental ethics, post-colonial studies, and urban sustainability. At Elizabethtown College, her courses focus on expanding the western canon to be more inclusive of environmental and non-human dimensions of philosophy and ethics. During the institute, she will be developing her research on the role of plural epistemologies for urban land ethics. Alexandria received her Ph.D in environmental philosophy from the University of North Texas, along with a Masters in Environmental Science. She also minored in environmental anthropology and urban geography. Dr. Poole earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at St. John’s College, known for its “Great Books Program,” with a double major in the history of mathematics and science.

Dr. Luis Pradanos Garcia

Luis I. Prádanos (Iñaki) is originally from Spain and did his undergraduate studies in Spain and Italy, and completed his MA and Ph.D. in Texas. Iñaki is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Contemporary Studies at Miami University. His research focuses on ecocritical theory and environmental humanities in relation to Contemporary Iberian cultures. Specifically, Iñaki’s work combines cultural studies, critical theory, and ecological economics. In the last four years, he has published 15 articles on these topics and has completed a book manuscript titled Postgrowth Imaginaries. New Ecologies and Counterhegemonic Culture in Post-2008 Spain. Iñaki has taught several courses on topics related to environmental humanities, urban ecology, postgrowth economics and cultures, and material ecocriticism. Some of his recent articles focus on the pedagogical implications of taking seriously the ongoing global socioecological crisis: “The Pedagogy of Degrowth.”


relevant publications:

Professor Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg

I am Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies, Director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. Sublime Surrender: Male Masochism at the Fin-de-Siècle was published by Cornell University Press in 1998; The Pinocchio Effect: On Making Italians (1869-1920) by University of Chicago Press in 2008; Pious Infidelity: Anna Freud, Psychoanalysis, Politics by Cornell University Press in 2012. My new book project is entitled Grounds for Reclamation: Italian Fascism, Postfascism and the Question of Consent (forthcoming with Liverpool University Press).


Dr. Samuel Talcott

Samuel Talcott is Associate Professor of Philosophy in Humanities at University of the Sciences. Taking a BA from Pennsylvania State University, he did graduate studies in continental European philosophy at DePaul University, punctuated by a year of work and study in Strasbourg, France. After defending his dissertation, he taught at Seattle University before moving to Philadelphia. He has a particular interest in experiences of the body—whether in terms of identity categories, beauty and ugliness, or sickness and health. His dissertation examined Immanuel Kant’s use of concepts in anatomy and natural history to ascribe a pathological nature to man as a living being. Since then he has been working on a book about historian and philosopher of the sciences Georges Canguilhem and his more famous student, Michel Foucault. His book aims to provoke a re-evaluation of Foucault’s importance by showing how his major works can be read as straightforward, critical continuations of Canguilhem’s methods and ideas. He also has an essay forthcoming on their predecessor, Gaston Bachelard, that begins to sketch an environmental philosophy out of Bachelard’s elemental poetics.

Assistant Professor Christopher Tong

Christopher K. Tong is an assistant professor of Chinese and Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and currently serves on the executive committee of the Modern Language Association’s Modern and Contemporary Chinese Forum. Prior to joining UMBC, he taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California, Davis. He is working on a book manuscript on the emergence of environmental ethics and aesthetics in early 20th-century China.


relevant publications:

Professor George Vrtis

George Vrtis’ teaching and research interests focus on the fields of American and World environmental history, the American West, and contemporary environmental issues. As a joint appointment in the History Department and the Environmental Studies Program, he teaches courses on a wide range of subjects, including American Environmental History, American Wilderness, Wilderness Studies at the Grand Canyon (an off-campus studies course), American Cities and Nature, and American Farms and Food. He recently published the co-edited book, Mining North America: An Environmental History since 1522 (University of California Press, 2017). His current research is focused on completing another co-edited book, Nature’s Crossroads: The Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, which is under contract with the University of Pittsburgh Press. When Nature’s Crossroads is completed, he plans to turn his attention to studies of federal wilderness at Grand Canyon National Park, precious-metals mining in Colorado, and the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.


Assistant Professor Lily Woodruff

I recently completed my 5th year as an Assistant Professor at MSU where I teach Contemporary Art History. My research examines contemporary art with specific focuses on social and institutional critique, technology, participation, and exchange between Europe and the Americas during the post-WWII period. My first book project analyses the way that artists working in France during the 1960s and ’70s transformed techniques of institutional conservatism in order to encourage critical public participation and social engagement. I have always been concerned about ecological issues, and am excited to develop the techniques from my current research in ways that will benefit knowledge production on the relationship between the environment and art history.