PhD English, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Current Position: Researcher in Residence, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
Jemma Deer works at the intersection of literary studies, deconstruction, and the environmental humanities. She is interested in the ways in which current ecological crises such as climate change, extinction, and biodiversity loss are working to transform the ways we understand the world and our place within it.
Jemma has an MA in critical theory and a PhD in English from the University of Sussex (UK). Under the heading, Radical Animism: Reading for the End of the World, her doctoral thesis elaborates a new theory of animism for the Anthropocene. Engaging with ideas from diverse fields such as astronomy, evolutionary biology, food, psychoanalysis, and quantum physics, the project rethinks the crisis of climate change through readings of various literary and critical writers (including Lewis Carroll, Charles Darwin, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Clarice Lispector, Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf).
As an Environmental Fellow, Jemma worked with Professor Verena Conley on a study of Modernist literature in the new context of the Sixth Mass Extinction Event. The project explored how the fiction of Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Bowen offers a unique site for approaching the thought of extinction today.
Verena Conley, Comparative Literature