Phillip Drake

Phillip Drake
  • Lead Faculty Fellow
  • Humanities, English, Environmental Studies Program Associate Professor

Contact Info


My teaching and research explore the ways cultural expression both shapes and is shaped by the nonhuman world. This work involves examining and problematizing human and nonhuman relationships through literature, public discourse, cultural beliefs and practices, and political movements. I am particularly interested in the ways conceptions of nature, humanity, technology, and art become contested and change across historical and cultural contexts, and the effects of this mutability on our social and ecological relationships in the world.

I am currently completing a book project that examines representations of a famous and controversial mud volcano in Indonesia, which was triggered by energy drilling (and/)or a distant earthquake. This interdisciplinary project incorporates textual and rhetorical analyses along with ethnographic fieldwork to observe the ways people both understand and respond to complicated environmental disasters. Beyond examining political and cultural concerns that are specific to the affected region in East Java, this project prompts broader questions about nature, justice, and public policy in relation to other hazards with both human and nonhuman causes, like disease pandemics, pollution, and extreme weather events caused by global warming.


Teaching Interests

  • Environmental Literature and Rhetoric
  • Animal Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Marxism
  • Ecocriticism
  • Political Ecology
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Science fiction
  • Disaster Studies
  • Critical theory
  • Southeast Asia

Research Interests

  • Environmental Literature, Animal Studies, Marxism, Science and Technology Studies, Environmental Rhetoric, Political Ecology, Southeast Asia