Joni Adamson

  • Senior Sustainability Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Professor, English and Environmental Humanities, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Program Faculty, Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology, Graduate College
  • Affiliate, Women and Gender Studies, School of Social Transformation

Department of English
Arizona State University
PO Box 870302
Tempe, AZ 85287-0302


Joni Adamson is Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Department of English, Senior Sustainability Scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Program Faculty in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology, and Affiliate of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University.  She is Director of the Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities.

For over 20 years, Adamson's research and professional activities have helped to shape the environmental humanities (history, philosophy, aesthetics, religious studies, literature, theater, film, and media studies informed by the most recent research in the sciences of nature and sustainability).  Through analysis of literature, film, folklore, oral traditions, framed by the most recent scientific research, Adamson's work interprets the impacts of rapid environmental change and widening social disparities caused by climate change.  In her books and articles, she articulates the reasons why interdisciplinary alliances between the environmental humanities and the natural, technological, and sustainability sciences are crucial to solving the complex social and ecological challenges we are facing. 

Adamson is past President of the Association for the Study Literature and Environment, a professional organization with a membership of over 1,700 scholars, educators, students, and scientists in 41 countries.  She has delivered keynotes and invited lectures in Germany, Scotland, Spain, Taiwan, and the US and presents regularly at professional conferences.  Her books and articles focus on contemporary literature and film, cosmopolitics, environmental justice, contested notions of "the commons," food sovereignty, and global indigenous environmentalisms and organizing. She is currently serving as co-PI for "Humanities for the Environment," an Andrew W. Mellon-funded international grant that is networking humanities centers, institutes and consortiums around the world.    

Adamson is the author of American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice and Ecocriticism (University of Arizona Press, 2001), and co-editor of The Environmental Justice Reader (University of Arizona Press, 2002), American Studies, Ecocriticism and Citizenship (Routledge, 2013) and Keywords for Environmental Studies (New York University Press, in press).


environmental humanities; environmental justice; American Southwest cultures; global indigenous oral and written literatures; ecocriticism; ethnobiology; food sovereignty; environmental literature and film; citizen actions; cross-border cooperation


    Ph.D., English, University of Arizona, 1995

    M.A., English, Brigham Young University, 1987

    B.A., Secondary Education/History/French, Idaho State University, 1981

Journal Articles

In Press

Adamson, J. In Press. The ancient future: Diasporic resience and food-based knowledges in the work of American Indigenous and Pacific Austronesian writers.. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature


Adamson, J. 2013. 西蒙•奥蒂斯的反击:环境正义、转变中的生态批评和中部地区 (Reprint of Chapter 3, Simon Ortiz's Fight Back: Environmental justice, transformative ecocriticism and the middle place. American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism: The Middle Place). Journal of Jiangsu University 2013(15.5):34-41.


Adamson, J. 2012. "¡Todos Somos Indios!" Revolutionary imagination, alternative modernity, and transnational organizing in the work of Silko, Tamez and Anzaldúa. The Journal of Transnational American Studies 4(1):1-26. (link)

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In Press

Adamson, J., W. Gleason and D. N. Pellow. In Press. Keywords in the Study of Environment and Culture. New York University Press.


Adamson, J. and K. N. Ruffin. 2013. American Studies, Ecocrticism, and Citizenship: Thinking and Acting in the Local and Global Commons. Routledge.


Adamson, J., M. Evans and R. Stein. 2002. The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy. The University of Arizona Press.

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Book Chapters

In Press

Adamson, J. In Press. Indigenous cosmopolitics and the re-emergence of the pluriverse. In: Tillett, R. ed., Howling for Justice: Critical Perspectives on Leslie Marmo Silko's "Almanac of the Dead". University of Arizona Press.

Adamson, J. In Press. Imagination. In: Adamson, J., W. Gleason and D. N. Pellow eds., Keywords for Environmental Studies. New York University Press.

Adamson, J. In Press. Environmental justice, cosmopolitics and climate change. In: Westling, L. ed., The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Environment. Cambridge University Press.

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Adamson, J. 2013. Source of life: Avatar, Amazonia, and an ecology of selves. Workshop leader at 23 January 2013 Mellon Research Initiative in Enviornments and Societies, University of California-Davis.

Wittig, A., J. Adamson, M. M. Elser and L. Guevara. 2013. Effectiveness of the modified field trip curriculum: Teaching the importance of good conservation habits. Poster presented on May 1, 2013 at the Decision Center for a Desert City Annual Poster Symposium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.


Adamson, J. 2005. American studies scholars as public intellectuals? What can be learned from place-based enviornmental justice activism. Presentation at the 2005 American Studies Association, Conference, Washington, D.C.



Adamson, J. 2013. A keyword for environmental studies: Imagination. Presentation at the 8-9 March 2013 Environmental Humanities in a Changing World, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University.

Adamson, J. 2013. Rethinking the "environmental imagination" in the context of multispecies ethnography and cosmopolitics. Keynote presentation at the 17-18 February 2013 Ecocriticism: Transpacific Dialogue Conference, University of Central Florida and the Beijing Language and Culture University.


Adamson, J. 2012. "¡Todos Somos Indios!" Human and civil rights and rights for nature in indegenous American organizing. Presentation at the 5 July 2012 Jornada de Ecologia y Culturas y Literaturas Amerindias and Grupo de Investigatión en Ecocritica Instituto Franklin, Universidad de Acalá, Museo de America, Madrid, Spain.

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Established in 2006, the School of Sustainability’s mission is to educate a new generation of scholars and practitioners and create innovative modes of scholarship by bringing together leaders, stakeholders, and people from multiple disciplines to develop practical solutions to the most pressing sustainability challenges.


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