Nicole M. Merola focuses in her teaching on the environmental humanities and American literatures. She came to RISD in fall 2005 from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she received her PhD.
Merola’s teaching and research interests encompass anthropocene studies; biodiversity and extinction studies; literary, visual and performance-based approaches to climate change; contemporary environmental literary, visual and material culture; critical animal studies; green film studies; the polar regions; oil and extraction cultures; science studies and the intersections of science, literature and art; the socioecological pasts and presents of Narragansett Bay; and theories of natureculture. Her on-campus courses include Contemporary Ecological Fictions, Ecopoems/Ecopoetics, Green Cultural Studies: Film, Narrating Evolution, Representing “Unrepresentable” Environments: Climate Change and Theorizing the Anthropocene. She teaches off-campus courses in the environmental humanities in Guyana and Portugal.
Merola has published scholarly essays on Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain; on the ways landscape photography can intervene in politico-legal conversations about wilderness preservation; on photographer Jill Greenberg’s animal portraits; on Don DeLillo’s novel Cosmopolis; and on Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia. Her article “T.C. Boyle’s Neoevolutionary Queer Ecologies: Questioning Species in ‘Descent of Man’ and ‘Dogology’” appeared in the anthology America’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and US Literary Culture, edited by Tina Gianquitto and Lydia Fisher. She has also published the articles “For terror of the deadness beyond: Arctic Environments and Inhuman Ecologies in Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter” and “Materializing a Geotraumatic and Melancholy Anthropocene: Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods.” Her article “Engaging the ‘Eaarth,’” in Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities, focuses on climate change cultures in the context of art and design education. An article on the work of poet Juliana Spahr is forthcoming in the anthology Affective Ecocriticism: Emotion, Embodiment, Environment. Her current research projects focus on the roles literature, film and visual and performance art play in conceptualizing the Anthropocene.