The Tiny House that a Literature Student Built (with a whole lot of help)

With the help of many friends and family, in 2012 I built a tiny house out of mostly reclaimed material. I planned to live in the 216 sq. ft. space for the length of my PhD studies and perhaps beyond. In this way, I aimed to live a little smaller, leave a little lighter, and learn in what ways formal study can be acted in the every day.

Personal: Head over to my blog to find out more about my experience building and living in this 216 sq foot house on wheels, more photos here.

Public: Projects like this attract a lot of media attention. The tiny seems quite photogenic!

Scholarly: Visit my site to read about how the experiences in living in a tiny house and moving in the tiny house movement inform my scholarly thinking on the house justice, 19th century literature, and issues like homelessness.





Awarded the 2015 Outstanding Teacher of Writing Composition, University of Oregon

The University of Oregon recognizes one teacher each year for their outstanding work in writing and composition. I am honored to have been recognized for my endeavors to center critical analysis in the classroom.

My teaching philosophy is driven by the objective of cultivating critical citizens. Critical citizenship is founded on the belief that teachers in a liberal arts setting have a responsibility not only to content but also to develop the skills necessary to critically examine the contexts that shaped, and are shaping, the text and readers. My core classroom practices are built upon this aim. I address that aim through four core strategies: historicism, modeling, rhetorical criticism, and skill-specific feedback.These strategies have guided my teaching to courses such as Introduction to the English Major; Introduction to Fiction; WRI 121 Sustainability; WRI 121 Poverty and Privilege; WRI 122 What Bodies Count; WRI 122 Social Protest; WRI 123 Research in Bodies of Protest; WRI 123 Research in The Anthropocene, as well as Rhetorical Grammar; European Art as Politics; Knowledge, Rationality and Understanding; and Middle East Studies.

Our contemporary moment is witness to a disorienting explosion of categories and labels – for genre, theory, and disciplines. The question of what is narrative or argument is an important one, but not an important one to rigidly answer. More urgent are the skills of critical analysis to assess the characteristics of a work – the rhetorical strategies, context, history, audience, and structure. Critical analysis and modeling equip us in critique of work and ultimately in examination of the ideologies buttressing assumptions.  Through transparency and a demand for critical engagement, students are empowered to do the risky work of becoming better thinkers, readers, writers, and, most importantly, more critical citizens in the many communities to which they belong.


Some useful teaching resources can be found at:

Yale Climate Connections

Association for Literature and Environment

University of Oregon Sustainability and Composition

Great first day ideas here


Research Interests and Scholarly Activity

My work focuses on race, environment, and systems of power in nineteenth century America. I am interested in how these intersections are crucial to understanding and addressing current climate and justice issues. You can find a sampling of my work below, and a full and current CV can be found on my site here.

I am also invested in the public sector work of the environmental humanities. As an important example of how the environmental humanities can be effective means of protest, Terry Tempest Williams, professor of environmental humanities at University of Utah along with students from that phd program, successfully bought rights to 1,750 acres of land in order to save it from fossil fuel extraction. Listen to her interview with Democracy Now here.





2019 | “Silent Sounds of Sundown: Survivance Ecology in John Joseph Matthews’ Bildungsroman.” Western American Literature. 53.4, 2019.

2018 | “Framing Degrowth: The Radical Potential of Tiny House Mobility.” Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities. Edited by Anitra Nelson and Francois Schneider. Routledge Environmental Humanities Series. Routledge, 2018.

2017 |  ““The Patron Saint of Tiny Houses.” Henry David Thoreau in Context. Literature in Context series. Edited by James Finley. Cambridge UP, 2017, 331-341.

2015 | “Economies/EconomEase: Troubling Life in a Tiny House.” The Ecotone: Journal of Environmental Studies (2015): 16-18.

2015 |“Notes on ‘Rethinking Race and the Anthropocene’.” EcoMedia Studies: Exploring Non-Print Media and Environment. 19 May 2015.

2014 | “The World is My Backyard”: Romanticization, Thoreauvian Rhetoric, and Constructive Confrontations in the Tiny House Movement.” From Sustainable To Resilient Cities: Global Concerns/ Urban Efforts. Research in Urban Studies. Edited by William Bingley. Emerald P, 2014. 289-313.

2011 | “Mormonism, Biopolitics and the Refuge of Terry Tempest Williams’ Ecofeminist Resistance.” Transforming Feminisms: Religion, Women, and Ecology. Special Issue of Journal for the Study of Religion 24.2 (2011): 65-74.

2011 | “The Paradox of Evil: A Study of Elevation Through Oppression.” The Evil Body. Edited by April Anson. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2011. 209-219.

2011 |“Introduction.” The Evil Body. Ed. April Anson. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2011. ix-xiv.

Under Review

“Environmental Apocalypse and Settler Colonial State(s) of Emergency.” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities.

Book Reviews

2018 | Review of Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire (2015). Environmental History. July, 2018.

2017 | Review of Aileen Moreton-Robinson, The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty (2015). Resilience: A Journal of Environmental Humanities 4.2 (Winter 2017): 212-215.

2016 | Review of Moving Environments: Affect, Emotion, Ecology, and Film. “Letters in Canada 2014.” University of Toronto Quarterly 85.2 (Winter 2016): 85-88.

Edited Volumes

2014 | Anson, April, et. al., Eds. Sustainability: A Casebook For Writers. U of Oregon Composition.

2011 | Anson, April, Editor. The Evil Body. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

In Progress

“Whitewashing, Apocalypse, and Public Lands.” for forthcoming special issue on public lands, Settler Colonial Studies.

“Survivance Ecology: Unsettling the Apocalyptic Crisis in Climate Fiction.” for American Literature.

 Awards & Fellowships 

 2017 |Dorys Grover Award, Western Literature Association

            Eric Englund Dissertation Fellowship in American Studies, University of Oregon

Risa Palm Fellowship for Promise in Academic Field, University of Oregon

Politics, Culture, Identity Travel Grant

Modern Language Association Travel Grant

Degrowth and Environmental Justice Summer School, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

2016 | Scholar in Residence, Sitka Institute: Thinking on the Edge

            Equity and Diversity Teaching Award, nominated, University of Oregon

Politics, Culture, Identity Certificate, University of Oregon

GSA Travel Grant, University of Oregon

Sherwood Research Award, University of Oregon

2015 |Outstanding Teacher of Composition, University of Oregon

Sustainability Fund Grant, University of Oregon

Distinction, Breadth Exams, University of Oregon

2014 | Sherwood Research Award, University of Oregon

Outstanding Teacher of Composition, nominated, University of Oregon

2012 |Jane Campbell Krohn Fellowship in Literature and Environment, University of Oregon

Graduate Teaching Fellowship, University of Oregon

Phillip Ford Graduate Award, Portland State University

Student Sustainability Award, Portland State University

2011 | Student Sustainability Award, Portland State University

Marie Brown Award, Portland State University

2010 |Marilyn Folkenstadt Scholarship, Portland State University

Phillip Ford Graduate Award, Finalist, Portland State University

Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Portland State University

2007 |Fulbright Teacher Exchange Recipient, Fulbright Institute of International Education

2006 |National Writing Project Fellow, Lewis and Clark College

2005 | Inspirational Teacher Award, Eastern Oregon University

2001 | Distinguished Achievement Award, Portland State University

1996 | Presidential Scholars Award, Benson Leadership Award, George Fox University

Invited Talks (selection)

March 2018| “Settler Apocalypse, Environmentalism, and Genre as Time Travel.” Portland State University.

February 2018| “#TinyHousesSoWhite: Race and the Tiny House Movement.” Cornell University.

May 2017 | “Survivance Ecology: Unsettling the Apocalyptic Crisis in Climate Fiction.” The Center for Environmental Futures, University of Oregon.

February 2017 | “Standing Rock and Environmental Protest.” University of Oregon.

October 2015 | “Academics and Activists.” Forum on Sustainability and Housing Justice, University of Oregon.

May 2015 | Provocateur. Rethinking Race and the Anthropocene, University of Oregon.

May 2015 | “How We Fail: Solar, The Back of the Turtle, and Survivance Ecology in CliFi Form.” Environmental Humanities Conference, University of Oregon.

May 2015 | “Indigenous Realism and the Biopolitics of National Narrative.” Indigenous Philosophy Reading Group, University of Oregon.

April 2015 | “Plotting US National Narrative: Wounded Knee and The Biopolitical Turn.” Foucault Reading Group, University of Oregon.

June 2014 | “The Tiny House Movement: History and Politics.” University of Oregon.

April 2014 | “Tiny Houses: Reclamation and Responsibility.” The Tiny House Conference, North Carolina.

May 2012 | “Mormonism, Biopolitics, and the Refuge of Ecofeminist Resistance in Terry Tempest Williams.” English, Portland State University .

June 2011 | “Foucault and Environmental Discourse.” The Center for American Studies, Universität Trier, Germany.

May 2010 | “Sturm und Drang.” European Art as Politics, Portland State University.

Conferences (selection)

2018 | Panel Chair and Participant, “Unsettling Apocalypses.” Critical Ethnic Studies Association:             Critical Insurrections: Decolonizing Difficulties, Activist Imaginaries, and Collective Possibilities,             Vancouver, BC, University of British Columbia, June.

2017 | “American Apocalypse: The Whitewashing Genre of Settler Colonialism,” Western Literature Association: Myth and Storytelling West of the Mississippi, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October.

“American Apocalypse: A Genealogy of the Genre of Settler-Colonialism,” Association for Literature and Environment: Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery, Wayne State University, June.

“Unsettling Apocalypse: A Literary Genealogy of Native Sovereignty,” Native American Literature Symposium, Prior Lake, Minnesota, March.

2016 | “Assessment Strategies for Justice, Equity, and Inclusion,” Fall Composition Conference, University of Oregon, September.

“The Unsettling Apocalypse: Dispossession Anxiety,” The Sitka Institute: Thinking on the Edge, Sitka, Alaska, August.

2015 | “Scaffolding ‘What Bodies Count’,” Fall Composition Conference, University of Oregon, September.

“Survivance Ecology: Solar, The IPCC Haiku, and Failure in CliFi Form,” Association for Literature and Environment: Notes From Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture, and Justice. University of Idaho, June.

2015 |“Failing Better: The Challenges To CliFi Form,” Climate Change Research Symposium, University of Oregon, May.

2014 | “When Silence Roars: John Joseph Matthews and Questions of Form” Western Literature Association: Border Songs, University of Victoria, November.

“Sustaining Ethics: Pedagogy for Cultural Diversity and Ecological Issues,” Fall Composition Conference, University of Oregon, September.

“‘The World is My Backyard’: Critiquing Mobility From Inside the Tiny House Movement”; Moderator: “Political Ecology, Democracy, & Complexity,” Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, University of Leipzig, Germany, September.

“Silence Roars: The Communally Comic Eloquence in John Joseph Matthew’s Sundown,” Alternative Sovereignties: Decolonization Through Indigenous Vision and Struggle, University of Oregon, May.

2013 | ‘“Little Shelter, Big Questions: An Insider’s Critique of the Rhetoric and Philosophies of  The Tiny House Movement,” Association for Literature and Environment: Changing Natures: Migrations, Energies, Limits, University of Kansas, June.

2012 | “Biopolitics, Mormonism, and Ecofeminist Resistance,” Association for Literature and Environment: Environment, Culture, and Place in a Rapidly Changing North, University of Alaska, Juneau, June.

2011 | “Individual Sovereignty: A Biopolitical Race War Against the Biocentric,” Association for Literature and Environment: Species, Space, and the Imagination of the Global, Indiana University, Bloomington, June.

“The Paradox of Evil: Medieval Mystics’ Elevation and Oppression,” Evil, Women, and the Feminine, Warsaw, Poland, May.

2010 | “Paradox, Mystics’ Poetic Power: Julian of Norwich and Marguerite Porete,” Medieval and Early Modern Institute, University of Alberta, February.


2017 |Historians are Writers Workshop, Cornell University, November.

Political Theory Workshop, Cornell University, Fall.

Teaching Race and Ethnicity, University of Oregon, May.

Politics, Culture, Identity, American Studies Workshop, University of Oregon, April.

2016 | Writing Workshop, The Sitka Institute hosted by the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Sitka, Alaska, August.

2015 |Spider Woman Theatre, Practicing Social Justice, University of Oregon, Spring.

2006 |National Writing Project, Lewis and Clark College, July.


2016 |             Politics, Culture, Identity Graduate Specialization, University of Oregon

2007 |             National Writing Project Workshop Certification, Lewis and Clark College

2002 |             Intel Teach to the Future, Portland State University

2001 |             Oregon State Secondary Certification, State of Oregon

Inaugural Forum on Sustainability and Housing Justice

With the support of University of Oregon’s Philosophy department and a generous grant awarded by the UO Sustainability Center, the University of Oregon held its first Forum on Sustainability and Housing Justice. This event explored the intersections of housing justice and sustainability and was truly an interdisciplinary and community event. Planned by myself and two other PhD candidates – one in Philosophy and one in Theatre Arts – this forum consisted of a fair and a speaking panel. The fair portion hosted groups from the university, organizations from the local and state community and represented a variety of sustainability initiatives such as habitat restoration, transportation justice, and exciting projects like Opportunity Village. The panel brought together five speakers: Erin Moore, a professor in the school of Architecture and Allied Arts; Paul Catino, the Learnscape and Restoration Coordinator at Nearby Nature; Michael Withley from Portland-Based Micro Community Concepts; Andrew Heben of the tiny house building nonprofit organization SquareOne Villages; and Donita Sue Fry, the Youth and Elders Council Coordinator for the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland. The entire event was aimed at bringing community organizations, activists, volunteers, and scholars together to talk about how to build a more just and sustainable home. The event featured a Conestoga Hut, built on-site and open for the public to learn more about the simple and transformative solutions for the unhoused.

Standing Rock – The Syllabus and Resources

To honor some of what I witnessed in my too-short time at Standing Rock, I want to share some important resources on the movement.

  • The StandingRockSyllabus offers a thorough compilation of historical and contemporary materials.
  • Also, Cultural Anthropology has an incredible series on Standing Rock, #NoDAPL, and Mni Wiconi
  • A comprehensive list of resources can be found on Timnick Chair in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, Kyle Powys Whyte’s page here
  • Lastly, the Zinn Education project has some great teaching ideas!
As photography is very strictly, and rightfully, regulated, this is the only photo I have of Oceti Sakowin (I have many of direct actions). What I witnessed in all the camps was an incredibly organized, non centralized movement of people refusing spiritual surrender, insisting on prayer, survival, and the protection of the water for future generations. It was an honor and a privilege, the memory of which I will always carry with me, in the water in my body.                                                             #NoDAPL #MniWiconi #WaterisLife

UO’s Initiative for Environmental Futures

I am pleased to be a part of the dynamic interdisciplinary work in environmental issues at the University of Oregon. The most exciting recent development is the launching of the Initiative for Environmental Futures–Environmental Humanities, Justice, and Culture at the University of Oregon by my advisor, the Barbara and Carlisle Moore Professor of English and Environmental Studies Stephanie LeMenager along with the Julie and Rocky Dixon Chair of U.S. Western History, Marsha Weisiger.

I am proud to be involved with this effort and excited about the diverse events on the horizon. Right now, we are in the process of developing a center, creating a variety of programs to bring graduate students and faculty in the environmental humanities from across the UO campus together, and meeting twice a month for work-in-progress talks and event planning. Find out more in the newsletter! The latest presentation was from Carla Bengston, the head of the Art department at UO, whose work centers around nonhuman actors to perform an intervention into the nature/culture divide. My current favorite is S.C.O.L.D.: Species Calling Out Climate Change Deniers – a project that trains crows to recognize and scold climate change deniers, and communicate to other crows to do the same!

If you are in the Boston area, go see my advisor – this year’s Radcliff Fellow at Harvard University – Professor Stephanie LeMenager’s talk at Harvard, “Weathering: Toward a Sustainable Humanities.” More information here.