Nicole Merola

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; 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 courses include Contemporary Ecological Fictions, Ecopoems/Ecopoetics, Exploring the Art and Science of Biodiversity in Guyana (a travel course co-taught with Lucy Spelman), Green Cultural Studies: Film, Narrating Evolution, Representing “Unrepresentable” Environments: Climate Change and Theorizing the Anthropocene.

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 most recent publication, which appears in Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities, focuses on teaching climate change in the context of art and design education. An article on the work of poet Juliana Spahr is forthcoming in the anthology Affective Ecocriticism. Her current research projects focus on the roles literature, film and visual and performance art play in conceptualizing the Anthropocene.

Fall 2017 Courses

  • GRAD-162G-01 Advanced Research: Putting Your Work In Context

Wintersession 2018 Courses

  • LAEL-1584-01 *Portugal: Material Practices
  • Nicole Merola's CV
  • BA, Swarthmore College
  • MA, University of Washington
  • PHD, University of Washington


Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History of Art + Visual Culture History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles