1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Austin Hetrick

Degrees

PhD     English Language and Literature, University of Virginia, expected May 2018
Dissertation: “Feeling Small: Environment, Limits, and World Literature”
Committee: Stephen Cushman, Mary Kuhn, Debjani Ganguly

MA      English Language and Literature, University of Virginia, May 2015

BA      English Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison, December 2010

Specialties

DISSERTATION

“Feeling Small: Environment, Limits, and World Literature” traces a foundational environmental premise (the idea that our planet is fragile and finite) through imaginative writing from South Africa, India, and the United States. While the problem of our planet’s limits has most often been framed by the natural and social sciences, I show how literary fiction offers distinct and generative forms of knowledge that can help us tell a more persuasive story about our “small earth.” Starting from the emergence of modern environmentalism in the 1960s, I argue that novelists including Nadine Gordimer, Ursula Le Guin, and Rohinton Mistry figure biophysical boundaries as affectively charged and inseparable from forms of political, racial, and economic difference. As I read them, limits are also produced by and producers of narrative form. This work of literary history and political ecology considers how the language of our limited planet has functioned, why it has succeeded and failed, and how we might remake it to serve a moment of crisis.

FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS

  • Fellow, Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, 2017-2018
  • Buckner W. Clay Award in the Humanities, 2017-2018
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, UVa, 2017-2018
  • Selected and Sponsored Participant – The Institute for World Literature, 2017
  • Griffis Prize for Best Essay by a Graduate Student in English Beyond the First Year, 2017
  • Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Research Award, UVa, 2015
  • Summer Graduate Research and Travel Grant, Department of English, UVa, 2013-2015
  • Griffis Prize for Best Essay by a Graduate Student in English – First Year Award, 2012
  • Academic Excellence Award for Independent Research, University of Wisconsin, 2011
  • Mary Brabyn Wackman Scholarship, English Department, University of Wisconsin, 2010

PUBLICATION

  • “Hunger in the Garden: Shortage and Environmental Aesthetics in Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist.” Forthcoming in PMLA.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

  • “Hunger in the Garden: Shortage and Environmental Aesthetics in Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist.” Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, Detroit, June, 2017
  • “Shortage, Planetary Boundaries, and the Global South.” Modern Language Association, Philadelphia, January, 2017
  • “Less: the Instant of Consumption in M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf.” Modernist Studies Association, Boston, November, 2015
  • “Done With the Past(oral)? New Nature Writing, Irony, and Enchantment.” American Literature Association, Washington, D.C., May, 2015
  • “‘Inventing the Steps’: The Function of Play in Woolf’s Voyage Out.” At Play in the Space Between: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945, Chicago, June, 2013

CONFERENCE AND EVENT ORGANIZING

  • “Irrationality and the Contemporary,” one-day symposium, with Jap-Nanak Makkar, Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, University of Virginia, May, 2018  
  • “Media, Technology, and Citizenship: A Public Forum,” with Debjani Ganguly, Anne Gilliam, and Joseph Wei, Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, University of Virginia, March, 2017
  • “Global South: A Colloquium,” with Debjani Ganguly, Anne Gilliam, and Joseph Wei, Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, University of Virginia, November, 2016
  • Helon Habila Reading, Department of English, University of Virginia, November, 2015
  • “Reading Then and Now” graduate conference, with Anastatia Curley, Department of English, University of Virginia, April, 2014

TEACHING

Interests:

  • Modern and contemporary global Anglophone literature
  • Environmental humanities – literature, theory, history, and law
  • South African literature
  • Critical theory
  • Composition; writing across the curriculum

Experience at the University of Virginia:

Instructor of record:

First Year Engagement Discussion | Fall 2017, Spring 2018

            Seminar leader for the College of Arts and Science’s pilot first-year engagement curriculum, an introduction to academic methods centered on difference, aesthetics, scientific method, and ethics. Coordinate digital humanities project.

“Modern and Contemporary Environmental Literature” | Fall, 2015

            Self-designed seminar for prospective majors and non-majors on environment and culture. Novels, poetry, and films from Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, and the U.S.

“Writing About Environment” | Fall and Spring 2014, Fall 2015

            Self-designed first-year accelerated seminar covering research and academic writing method. Content drawn from U.S. legal history, economics, politics, literature, and environmental science.

Teaching assistant:

“Art Inside and Out” | Fall 2017, Profs. Sarah Betzer and Bruce Holsinger

            First-year introduction to aesthetic theory, appreciation, and practice. Guest lecture (with Hannah Holtzman) on environment and art.

“History of Literatures in English III” | Spring 2014, Profs. Stephen Cushman and Michael Levenson

            This survey of British and American literature covered major movements and works from the 18th century to the present.

 “History of Literatures in English II” | Fall 2013, Profs. Victor Luftig and Victoria Olwell

            A modern and contemporary survey of global Anglophone works organized around the themes of capitalism and colonialism.

Related teaching experience:

Associate Director for Academics - 4 Star Camps (Charlottesville summer camp), 2014-2016      

SERVICE AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • Research Assistant, Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, UVa, 2016-present  
  • Member, Board of Directors, Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary, Nelson County, VA, 2016-present  
  • Student Rep., Board of Trustees, College of Arts & Sciences Foundation, 2017-present
  • Research Assistant, Environmental Humanities Colloquium, UVa, 2016-2017

AFFILIATIONS

  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Modernist Studies Association (MSA)
  • Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE)
  • University of Virginia Environmental Humanities Colloquium (EHC)

LANGUAGES

  • French (moderate speaking and reading), Spanish (basic reading)