Faculty of Environmental Studies


Soper-Jones, Ella

Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Literature, Sustainability, and Culture
BA Hon, MA, PhD (English) Toronto
Email: jonesell@yorku.ca

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Human-animal studies
  • Literary theory
  • Ecocriticism
  • Environmental literature
  • Modern and contemporary literature
  • Canadian literature
  • North American literature

York’s FES offers a unique opportunity to work within an innovative and vital academic environment. I see my postdoctoral research, which focuses on the subgenre of Canadian extinction literature and draws on the diverse disciplines of literary theory, human-animal studies, ecocriticism, postcolonialism, and moral philosophy, as according well with the spirit of creative synthesis the Faculty fosters.

I am also drawn to the praxis-oriented focus of the FES: my reading and research have long been guided by a profound conviction that literature “matters.” My current research examines, in part, literary constructions of human-animal relations and our consequent valuation of other species. I ask such questions as, “What might literature, in the context of such widespread species loss, hope to achieve?” and “What unique potential might literature be said to possess in terms of effecting broad social and environmental change?”

The Faculty’s Sustainable Writing Lab, which I run in conjunction with Canada Research Chair Catriona Sandilands and FES doctoral candidate Janine MacLeod, takes such questions to heart, focusing on creative writing as a means of enacting the conceptual challenges of thinking about and with the environment.

Other positions/affiliations

  • Sessional Lecturer, University of Toronto Mississauga, Dept. of English and Drama

Select prizes & awards

  • V.A. DeLuca Memorial Fellowship (University of Toronto, Department of English)

Select publications

“The Fate of the Oolichan: Prospects of Eco-Cultural Restoration in Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 44.2 (June 2009): 15-33.

“When Elephants Weep: Reading The White Bone as a Sentimental Animal Story.” Other Selves: Animals in the Canadian Literary Imagination. Ed. Janice Fiamengo. U of Ottawa P, 2007. 269-89.

“Wilderness Stations: Peregrination and Homesickness in Alice Munro's Open Secrets.” Wascana Review 38.1 (Spring 2003): 29-50. Reprinted in Short Story Criticism 95. Thomson Gale Literary Criticism Ser. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007. 348-60.

“Shivering Sands: Anxiety and the Victorian Ecological Imagination." Culture and the State: Landscape and Ecology.  Eds. James Gifford and Gabrielle Zezulka-Maillous.  Edmonton, AB: CRC Humanities Studio, U. of Alberta, 2004.  200-209.

Current courses

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