Shannon Ray

Cohort Year: 2020
Research Interests: Environmental Humanities | Animal Studies | Journalism | Communications and Rhetoric | Film | 18th- & 19th-Century British and American Literature
Education: MSc, University of Edinburgh, 2019; BA, Rutgers University, 2017


My research within the environmental humanities focuses on environmental history, writing, and film. I’m especially interested in environmental narratives: which media and rhetorical strategies make for the most successful transformation of scientific information into story? I also work on Romantic and 19th-century environmental writing, with the running hypothesis that writers like Burns, Clare, Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, and Hopkins have much to teach us about the necessity of nonhuman perspectives and about thinking on a geological time scale. My studies of natural and environmental history are part of a similar project. By tracing how human activity has depleted the planet from our earliest civilizations to the present, I hope to highlight the immense scale of the Anthropocene, and the necessity of radical––rather than incremental––action to climate and wilderness restoration. 

I also research and write on broader issues in environmental systems, policy, and economics. I'm particularly invested in rewilding, sustainable agriculture, and other aspects of biodiversity, especially as they affect climate restoration. I have previously worked as a wildlife rehabilitator and a permaculture farmer.