Joni Adamson

Ross-Blakley Hall 210
PO Box 871401
President's Professor
TEMPE Campus
President's Professor
TEMPE Campus


Joni Adamson is President's Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Department of English and Director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHI) at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.  She writes on the centrality of the environmental humanities to the sustainability sciences, the design of desirable futures, climate fiction and film, Indigenous literatures and scientific literacies, the rights of nature movement, and the food justice movement.  Her research has been supported by many awards and grants, including the 2019 Benjamin N. Duke Fellowship at the National Humanities Center.  

She is the author and/or co-editor of eight books and special issues and 80 articles, chapters, reviews and blog posts which have been widely cited, reprinted, and translated into Mandarin and Spanish.  She has been invited to keynote conferences and has lectured in Australia, China, England, Italy, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and throughout the U.S. Her organizational activities helped lay the foundations for transnational environmental American Studies and the environmental humanities.  From 1998 to 2011, she founded and led the Environment and Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association (ASA-ECC) and, in 2012, she was elected president of the Association for the Study Literature and Environment (ASLE), the largest organization of environmental humanists in the world. She is currently Director of the North American Observatory (NAO) which is headquartered at ASU and part of the Humanities for the Environment global network which she helped to launch in 2013 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Adamson directs the Environmental Humanities certificate at ASU and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that explore environmental literature and film, environmental justice, global indigenous oral and written literatures, the rights of nature movement, and food studies. She is a dedicated teacher and, in 2014, was awarded the ASU Faculty Women's Association Mentorship Award.


  • Ph.D. English and Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies, University of Arizona. Dissertation: �A Place to See: Ecological Literary Theory and Practice," Chair: Barbara A. Babcock, Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies
  • M.A. English, Brigham Young University
  • B.A. History/French, Idaho State University

Research Group

Joni Adamson, Director and founding Convener, North American Observatory of the Humanities for the Environment global network and lead developer of its international website.  Please visit our website!


  • Keynote, �Dinner 2030: Food Futures,� Anthroposcenaries / Antroposcenari: Ecologies,  Landscapes, and Stories. Environmental Humanities International Research Group, Universit� degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy, May 31, 2017.


  • Lecture, �Global Ecologies and the Environmental Humanities,� Research Centre for Environmental Humanities Public Lecture Series, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK, May   24, 2017.
  • Plenary Speaker, �Food Futures: Indigenous Ethnobotanical Knowledges, Seed Sovereignty, and Resilience.� Decolonizing Nature: Resistance | Resilience | Revitalization.�  University of  New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20, 2017.
  • Lecture, �How to Make your Campus an Urban Lab for the Citizen Humanities,� Eco/Next:  Green Humanities Beyond 2017 Series. Sponsored by English, Film & Media Arts, and    Women's & Gender Studies, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, March   31, 2017.  
  • Keynote, �Backbone, Country, Anthropocene: Integrating Knowledges, Forging New  Constellations of Humanities and Social Science Practice,� Global Ecologies Conference,  University of Sydney, Australia, November 23, 2016. 
  • Keynote, �Roots and Trajectories: Why Field Genealogies�and Intergenerational Justice� Matter in the Environmental Humanities.� Environmental Trajectories Conference.  University of Colorado, Boulder, Oct. 28 -29, 2016. 
  • Invited Speaker, �Addressing Cities, Heritage, Food, Environment and Climate Change within the Humanities for the Environment (HfE) Global Initiative,� Valuing, Evaluating, Creativity Conference and the 10th Annual UNESCO Creative Cities Network Meeting, Mid Sweden University, �stersund. Sweden, September 12-14, 2016.
  • Lecturer, �The Anthropocene Humanities and Keywords for Environmental Studies,� The Seedbox Collaboratory, Link�ping University, September 7, 2016. 
  • Lecturer, �Integrating Knowledges, Forging New Constellations of Transdisciplinary Practice,� Higher Seminar, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Environmental Humanities Lab, Division of History of Science, Technology & Environment, September 5, 2016.
  • Keynote, Why Bears, Sachamama (Mother Forest), and other Transformational Beings are (Still)  Good to Think: From Ecopoetics to Multispecies Ethnography.� Dwellings of   Enchantment: Writing and Reenchanting the Earth: International Conference on     Ecopoetics, University of Perpignan, Perpignan, France, June 22-25, 2016.
  • Plenary Presentation.  �Creating New Fields: Expanding Environmental Justice/Climate Justice     with Scholarship in Related Areas.� Who�s Globe?  Who�s Globalization.  University of California, Santa Barbara�s Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies on February 26, 2016. University of California, Santa Barbara.  Feb. 26, 2016.
  • Keynote. �We Have Never Been �Anthropos�: From Environmental Justice to Cosmopolitics.�  "Nation in the Age of Environmental Crisis", Ecocriticism Network Symposium, Augsburg, Germany, July 17-18, 2015.

  • Keynote, �We Have Never Been �Anthropos�: The Future of the Environmental Humanities.� Symposium on the Future of the Environmental Humanities.� University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 24-27, 2015. 
  • Plenary Speaker.  �Telling Storied Matters, Picturing Time: What Ancient Desert Plants Tell Us About Deep Time, Resilience, and Adaption.�  Environmental Photography and Humanities: Contributions to Research and Awareness.  An International Symposium. University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. April 23-24, 2015. 
  • Lecture.  �Life Overlooked: Humanities for the Environment,� Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium, The Franklin Environmental Center, Middlebury College, Middlebury Vermont, March 12, 2015. 

  • Keynote.  The Sixth International Conference in Ecodiscourse: Speculative Materialisms. �Toward a Future We Want: Material Ecocriticism and the Articulation of �Storied Matter (s),� Tamkang University, Taipei, Taiwan, December 19, 2014.

  • Lecture.  �Networked Relations: Humanities for the Environment.�  Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Xiamen University, Fujian Province, China. December 16, 2014. 

  • Presentation. �Corn Mothers and Sunflowers: Critical Plant Studies, Multinatural Beings, and      Cosmopolitics.� �The Environmental Humanities: Emergence and Impact,� Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar, University of California, Los Angeles, December 9, 2014. 

  • HfE Lecture.  �Humanities for the Environment: Articulating `Storied Matter� in the Multiverse.� The Annual Meeting of the Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI): Performative Humanities.  The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, June 5-8, 2014.

  • Keynote, �Gardens in the Desert: Migration, Diaspora and Food Sovereignty in the Work of Global Indigenous Women Writers,� International Migrants and Their Memories Conference,� National Sun-yat Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, October 5, 2013. 

  • Lecture, �A Keyword for Environmental Studies: Imagination,� �Environmental Humanities in a Changing World,� Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University, March 8-9, 2013. 

  • "Star Waka: The Commons and the Cosmos in Indigenous (Science) Fictions and Poetry". Ecocriticism: Transpacific Dialogue Conference (Feb 2013).
  • "American Studies, Ecocriticism, and Citizenship.". Mellon Research Initiative in Environments and Societies Workshop (Jan 2013).
  • Invited Lecture. "Rethinking the Commons: How the Humanities Power our Fights for Food and Climate Justice." University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon (Oct 2012).
  • Invited Lecture. "Source of Light, Source of Life: New Biosemiotic Understandings of Indigenous Literatures and Ecological Knowledges". Center for Comparative Native and Indigenous Studies, Johannes Gutenberg-Universit�t Mainz (Jul 2012).
  • Invited Lecture. ""�Todos Somos Indios!" Human and Civil Rights and Rights for Nature in Indigenous American Organizing". Grupo de Investigati�n en Ecocritica Workshop (Jul 2012).
  • Keynote. "If a Tree Falls: Multispecies Ethnography, Amazonian Imagination and New Answers to Old Questions". Fifth European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment Conference, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. (Jun 2012).
  • Invited Lecture. "mother/mater/matrix: How the Humanities Power our Fight for Climate Justice". Sustainability in America Symposium (Feb 2011).
  • Invited Lecture. "The 11th Hour and Avatar: Humane Sustainable Culture and Film". National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan Lecture Invitation (Dec 2010).
  • Plenary. "Seeking the Corn Mother: Transnational Indigenous Community Building and Organizing, Food Sovereignty and Native North American Women Writers". Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference (Oct 2009).
  • Lecture: �Keywords in the Study of Environment and Culture: Imagination.� �Towards a Sustainable Future: Opportunities for Collaborations Between the Humanities and the Sciences.� Sponsored by Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Aberdeen; and the Institute for Environmental History, University of St Andrews, UK, March 20, 2012.
  • �The Locations of American Studies� American Studies Association Conference, Toronto, Canada, October 8-11, 2015.
  • �Long Count Time: Rethinking Global Indigenous Literatures in the Context of Cosmopolitics,� Eleventh Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), Moscow, Idaho, June 23-27, 2013. 
  • �Environmental Humanities.� American Studies Association Conference, Los Angeles, CA, November 2014. 
  • �How Rethinking Indigenous Literatures as Science Fiction Contributes to Transdisciplinary Discourses Surrounding Rising Seas and Climate Change,� International Conference on Island Development, International Geographical Union Commission on Islands, National Penghu University, Penghu, Taiwan.
  • "Hemispheres of Debt, Crises of Ecologies, Ethics of Collective Dissent: The Caribbean and Pacific Islands in American Studies.� American Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., November 20-24, 2013. 
  • Ten Years after American Indian Literatures, Environmental Justice and Ecocriticism: New Directions in Global Indigenous Literary Studies.�  Modern Language Association Conference, Boston, MA, January 2-5, 2013. 
  • "Yakumama: What we can Learn from Pink Dolphins and Other Aquatic Seducers.� Society for the Study of Literature, Science and the Arts.�  Milwaukee, WI, September 27-30, 2012.


2019 Benjamin N. Duke National Humanities Center Senior Fellowship (External $35,000)

2017-2019 - PLuS Alliance Fellowship, PLuS Alliance, Arizona State University | Kings College London | University of New South Wales ($10,000)

2016-2017 - Virginia G. Piper Fellowship, Virginia G. Piper Center, Arizona State  University, (Internal $15,000)

2016 - CLAS Humanities Research Incentive Award, (Internal $1,000)

2015 - NEH Guest Faculty.  �The Environmental Humanities.�  Imagining Sustainable Environments: Place and Culture in the Global Community.  National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Institute. Virginia State University, May 18-22, 2015. (External)

2014 - ASU Faculty Women�s Association Outstanding Mentor Award 

2012 - Visiting Scholar Fellowship, University of Alcal�, Alcal�, Spain, to work with members of GIECO (Grupo de Investigaci�n en Ecocr�tica) at the Instituto de Investigaci�n en Estudios Norteamericano, June 22-July 18, (External $2000)

2012 - Sabbatical Leave, Arizona State University, 7/2012�12/2012 (Internal)

2011 - NEH Guest Faculty, �What are the Environmental Humanities?� Rethinking the Land Ethic: Sustainability and the Humanities National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute, Flagstaff, AZ. (External)

2010-11 - Fellowship, The Humanities and Human Origins, Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University, (Internal $8000)

2009 - National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Stipend, "Nature and History at the Nation's Edge: A Field Institute in Environmental and Borderlands History," Tucson, AZ, June 14-July 11, (External $3200)  

2009-2010 - Fellowship, Lincoln Polytechnic Ethics Seminar, Arizona State University,                                           (Internal $4000) 


Book Series Editor, New Developments in Sustainability and Society, Cambridge University Press, 2017-      and-society/195109EF9FE8DC76EF7071B17D0F7341

Co-editor, with Scott Slovic and Masumi Yuki, Routledge Environmental Humanities Book Series,

Editorial Board Member, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, 2005-

Editorial Board Member, Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 2011-

Editorial Board Member, Ecocritical Theory and Practice Series, Lexington Books, an academic    imprint of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2013-

Editorial Board Member, Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, 2013-

Editorial Board Member, transFORMATIONS, 2014-                      

Editorial Board Associate, Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities, 2014- 

Professional Associations

American Studies Association American Society of Environmental History The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment The Modern Language Association MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States Environment and Culture Caucus, American Studies Association Diversity Caucus, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Western Literature Association

Graduate Faculties / Mentoring History

2009-present Senior Sustainability Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute for Sustainability 2014-present Inaugural Affiliate, Virginia Piper Center for Creative Writing 2015-present Affiliate, School for the Future of Innovation in Society 2014-present Affiliate, American Studies MA Program, SHPRS 2014-present Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability 2013-present Program Faculty, Graduate Certificate of Nonfiction Writing 2009-present Affiliated Faculty, Women and Gender Studies

Work History

2013- Professor, English and Environmental Humanities, CLAS, Arizona State University 2006-2013 Associate Professor, English and Environmental Humanities, IHC, Arizona State University 2004-2006 Professor, English, University of Arizona, Sierra Vista 2001-2004 Associate Professor, English, University of Arizona, Sierra Vista 1996-2001 Assistant Professor, English, University of Arizona, Sierra Vista 1995-1996 Adjunct Senior Lecturer, English, University of Arizona, Tucson 1992-1995 Graduate Associate, English, University of Arizona, Tucson 1989-1992 Graduate Assistant, English, University of Arizona, Tucson