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.
Within the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, Lauren has been part of an interdisciplinary team constructing the citizen humanities and plant studies project,
, 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.