Lauren LaFauci writes about environmental issues from the perspective of literature, history, and culture. From the history of climate theories to yellow fever epidemics to the literature of slavery, her work engages broadly with the topics of nature, race, the body, and justice

Lauren LaFauci is originally an Americanist specializing in 18th- and 19th-century literature, culture, and history of the United States, focusing on the intersections of race, embodiment, environment, and nationalism. Starting from this interdisciplinary base, her research and teaching branch out into similarly wide-ranging territory, now mainly encompassed by the fields known as environmental humanities, medical humanities, and history of science. Originally from the United States, Lauren joined the faculty of Tema in 2016, where she has taught courses in these fields and in intersectional gender studies since then.

Social media

Herbaria 3.0 - What is your plant story? See @herbaria3.0 on Instagram.


Individual Research

Her current major research project, Peculiar Nature: Slavery, Environment, and Nationalism in the Southern States, 1789-1865, unites environmental humanities, social history of medicine, and cultural constructions of nationalism in the area of the United States that became, for a short period of time, the independent Confederate States of America. This book project shows how seemingly benign ideas about the environment metamorphosed into sinister ideas about bodies and the body politic, defining not only who got to be a citizen but who got to be fully human. Alongside this research project, she has recently published articles on the history of climate theories; the connection between slavery and wetlands in early American literary contexts; and, forthcoming, an essay on New Orleans’s yellow fever epidemic of 1853 and national and local citizenship and belonging.

Collaborative Research

Within the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, Lauren has been part of an interdisciplinary team constructing the citizen humanities and plant studies project,
Herbaria 3.0, which collects stories about the relationships between plants and people. Also within the Seed Box, she works with Tema Genus colleague Cecilia Åsberg to trace the genealogies of feminist and indigenous contributions to the field of environmental humanities, and the consequences of overlooking these contributions.

Background and Prior Teaching

Lauren was educated at the University of Michigan (Ph.D., M.A., English/American Studies) and Washington and Lee University (B.A., English, German). Before moving to Sweden, she taught writing and communication at Stanford University; environmental justice, American literature, history, and culture, and literary theory at Notre Dame de Namur University and Simpson College, where she was also professor of Sustainability Studies; and most recently, environmental and American literature, as well as professional and academic writing and communication, at the University of Tulsa.

Research projects

Uncommon Grounds: Synthesizing Equitable Environmental Humanities for Climate Change Action (completed)
With Cecilia Åsberg. Synthesis Grant, Formas, a Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development.
Cecilia and I were co-leaders of this project.

Herbaria 3.0: What is your plant story? (completed)
With Tina Gianquitto, Dawn Sanders, Maura Flannery, and Terry Hodge
Tina, Dawn and I were co-leaders of this project.

Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory (ongoing)
Mistra-Formas Program, affiliated researcher.
Link to the Seed Box: Seed Box

Entwined: Plants and People, Narratives and Networks (ongoing)
With Tina Gianquitto. Link to Tina’s webpage:
Tina and I are co-leaders of this project.

Peculiar Nature: Race and Nature in the Southern States, 1789-1865 (ongoing)
Individual research project.


  • Environmental Humanities, especially environmental justice
  • History of Science, especially history of race and history of medicine
  • Early American Studies
  • Medical Humanities
  • Plant Studies
  • Public/Citizen Humanities
  • Cultural Studies


  • Feminist Environmental Humanities (Feministisk Miljöhumaniora), Course 757A33

Lauren teaches as a guest lecturer in other courses at Tema Genus’s Masters Program in Intersectionality and Change and in PhD courses at Tema Genus and the Seed Box Research School. From time to time she also teaches at Campus Norrköping’s Science and Technology Education Research PhD program as well.


Selected Honors And Fellowships

  • Visiting Researcher, Division of History of Science, Technology, and Environment. Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden, 2018-2020
  • Seed Box International Workshop Grant for “Multispecies Stories,” Program Phase 2 (until 2022).
  • Short-Term Collaborative Writing Fellowship, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany. Co-Applicant with Cecilia Åsberg, 2018-2019.
  • Synthesis Grant, Formas (Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development) Co-Applicant with Cecilia Åsberg, 2018-2019.
  • Seed Funding Project Grant, Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, “Herbaria 3.0,” Co-Applicant with Tina Gianquitto and Dawn Sanders, 2017-2018.
  • Susan Fenimore Cooper Fellowship in Environmental Literary Studies, Franklin Institute for North American Studies, University of Alcalá, Spain, 2014-2015.
  • Elwood Fellowship in African American Studies, Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture, University of Virginia, 2012-2013.
  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2012-2013.
  • Outstanding Faculty Mentor, Simpson College, nominated by students, 2012.
  • Noel Polk Award for Best Graduate Student Essay, Society for the Study of Southern Literature, 2008.
  • William Reese Fellowship for History of the Book in the Americas, Andrew Mellon Foundation and Virginia Historical Society, 2007.
  • Cay Visiting Scholar Grant, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2006-2007.

Selected Recent Professional Service

  • International Liaison, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, 2018-present
  • Program Convener, Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, 2016-2017
  • GEXcel International Collegium for Gender Studies Excellence, Linköping University Coordinator, 2017
  • Professional Liaison, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and Society of Early Americanists (SEA), 2014-present
  • Sustainability Studies Advisory Committee, Simpson College, 2011-2012
  • President’s Climate Council, Simpson College, 2010-2012.



Climate Theories.” In Climate in American Literature and Culture. Edited by Michael Boyden. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. [In press]


Encountering Early American Environments.Early American Literature 51.2 (Spring 2016): 461-476. doi: 10.1353/eal.2016.0028