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Literatures of Environment and Disability from Oceania: A Marsden Fast-Start Project, 2024-2027

This project is the first to analyse literatures of environment and disability from Oceania. A diverse range of environmental impacts is hitting Oceania in this current moment of climate change, and disabled people, especially disabled Indigenous people, are increasingly at risk from those impacts. Yet the stories these people tell are often overlooked by literary researchers. It is imperative to highlight disabled people’s stories from Oceania as those who live here face progressively volatile environmental situations. These literatures emerge from contexts where military and extractive contamination often cause disabilities, and where disabled people are considered collateral damage during disasters, including the Covid-19 pandemic. My project analyses novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, and poems from places including Aotearoa, Guåhan, Hawai‘i, Sāmoa, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, and Fiji, establishing how such stories resist ableist narratives and theorise and advance disability-centred ways of creating sustainable and just environmental futures. This project argues that we cannot emphasise climate justice and account for those living in precarious environmental conditions without also prioritising the stories of disabled peoples. These literatures offer strategies for caring for one another and our environments as we all, abled and disabled, grapple with diverse ecological conditions once considered deviant.

This project will include a hui, a podcast, as well as several written components. Stay tuned for updates!

A Mellon Sawyer Seminar on "Deep Horizons: Making Visible an Unseen Spectrum of Ecological Casualties and Prospects," CU Boulder

At CU Boulder I was the postdoctoral fellow for a Mellon Sawyer Seminar, funded by a Comparative Study of Cultures grant, and organized by Erin Espelie, Brianne Cohen, Lori Peek, and Andrew Cowell. This seminar worked in partnership with the NEST Studio for the Arts, the Natural Hazards Center, the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, and the Art & Art History Department. You can read more about the seminar, and follow student work and online public lectures from leading environmentally focused scholars, here. Brianne, Erin, and I have now co-edited an open-access collection that grew from this seminar, entitled Deep Horizons: A Multisensory Archive of Ecological Affects and Prospects (Amherst College Press, 2023).


At the Mississippi Headwaters. Photo credit: Sara Černe

Humanities Without Walls

As a graduate laboratory participant, I took part in a 2018-2020 grant funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation for a collaborative research project entitled "Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates: The Mississippi River Valley, Colonialism, & Environmental Change". The project is lead by Kelly Wisecup (Project Leader & PI, Northwestern), Vicente Diaz (Co-PI, Minnesota) and Christopher Pexa (Coordinator, Minnesota). For a full list of the participants, from five institutions, see this link, and for more information about the project, see this article. In 2022 we published short articles and interviews emerging from this project on our website Indigenous Mississippi.

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