Graduate Students

Current Students:

Carrie Alexander

Carrie Alexander is a Ph.D. student in U.S. Environmental History. Before coming to UC Davis, she spent ten years designing print and online media for diverse industries and child audiences. Now, instead of marketing chemicals, bowhunting gear, and water, she studies the deep historical processes that have driven conflict over land, water, food, and energy in the North American West. She spends her free time cooking, baking, biking, and gardening with her six-year-old daughter, Mia.

Sophia Bamert

Sophia Bamert is a Ph.D. student in English who works on ecocriticism and American literature. Her research focuses on the relationship between urban planning and the literary representation of city spaces at the turn of the twentieth century, particularly as related to race, class, and gender.

Elizabeth Grennan Browning

Elizabeth Grennan Browning is a PhD candidate in U.S. History focusing on urban environmental history, cultural history, and the history of American capitalism. Drawing on environmental justice studies and aesthetics, her research examines Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century to analyze how socioeconomic power dynamics created environmental inequalities and led to the problematic definition of urban space as the antithesis of “natural.”

Ari Conterato

Ari Conterato is a graduate student in sociocultural anthropology at the University of California, Davis. His research interests center on questions of design, aesthetics, and ethics with regard to the production of wilderness/wild places/nature: how are wildernesses designed, why, for whom, and what are the stakes? Recently, he has been researching the networks of diverse people involved in rewilding, whether directly through active practices, indirectly through management, funding, supplementary scientific practices, and finally, through people involved in the political stakes of wilderness and wildlife conservation (specifically, in this case, with scent-dog hunting in England). He supplements this network-oriented research with more traditional ethnographic engagement with rewilding sites and their inhabitants and through the development of experimental ethnographic practices for collaborative multispecies storytelling.

Rebecca Egli

Rebecca Egli is a PhD student in History who focuses on U.S. environmental and agricultural history and has a minor in Latin American History. Her research interests include scientists, insects, the study of natural history, and the environmental implications of nineteenth and twentieth century agricultural practices on the American West and South. Her dissertation examines the work of agricultural explorers, plant scientists, and entomologists and their attempts to remake American nature through plant and insect importation from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century.

Sarah Gilkerson

Sarah Gilkerson is a History PhD student who focuses on how resource extraction has historically elongated protracted refugee situations, most notably in the Sahrawi displacement crisis in Northern Africa. Her research interests include forced migration, the Sahara Desert and Trans-Saharan studies, memory and Human Rights, phosphate and uranium mining, Refugee and Immigration Law, and International Law. During her research and fieldwork, she has cultivated a relationship between activism and the academy.

Angela Hume 

Angela Hume’s book project, “Lyric Interiors: The Contemporary Ecological Imagination in American Women’s Poetry,” charts literary representations of environmental harm and its consequences for the health and ecologies of women and other marginalized groups in the 20th/21st century. Angela argues that activist women poets expand traditional notions of lyric interiority—the idea that what defines lyric poetry is an interest in representing inner feelings and experiences—to encompass the material interior of the body sickened by environmental contamination. Her critical work appears in journals such as Contemporary LiteratureISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and EnvironmentEvental Aesthetics, and Jacket2 and she is the co-editor of a volume of new scholarly essays on ecopoetics (forthcoming U of Iowa Press). Angela is currently developing new literature and cultural studies courses on topics like “Material Feminisms,” “Toxic Bodies,” and “Cosmopolitics/Cosmopoetics.” She is also a poet. Angela’s first full-length book, Middle Time (2016), is just out from Omnidawn.

Cameron Lothrop Johnson

Cameron Lothrop Johnson is a graduate student in Latin American History with a minor in environmental history.  He focuses on modern Peru and is interested in the intersections between intellectual history and spatial history, with an emphasis on international linkages.  He has researched topics including eucalyptus planting programs and international aid in the Peruvian highlands, urban development and cosmopolitanism during the rubber boom era in Iquitos, Peru, and state-funded mapping projects in the late ninetheenth century through the figure of Italian born natural historian and cartographer, Antonio Raimondi.

Cori Knudten

Cori Knudten is a PhD candidate in History focusing on U.S. environmental history with a minor in Cross Cultural Women’s and Gender History. Her current research explores intersections between gender, sexuality, and the built environment in California’s East Bay in the 1920s and 1930s.

Sophie Moore

Sophie Moore is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies. Informed by environmental history, political ecology, and postcolonial studies, her research focuses on environmental knowledge, transnational rural development, and peasant environmental politics. She is particularly interested in the ecologies of rural Haiti and the Francophone Caribbean from the Haitian Revolution to the present.

Loren Michael Mortimer

Mike Mortimer is a doctoral candidate in the History Department with a designated emphasis in Native American Studies. His research combines ethnohistory, environmental history, and spatial history to narrate the evolution of the St. Lawrence River watershed from a pre-contact Native American borderland into an internationally bordered land between the modern nation-states of Canada and the United States.

Nick Perrone

Nick Perrone is a graduate student in History. His research interests include the role of labor in shaping the environmental history of the American West.


Recent Graduates:

Chris Tong

Christopher K. Tong received his PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Davis. He is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and serves on the executive committee of Modern Language Association’s LLC forum. He has published on such topics as ecocinema, scale, and nonhuman poetics and is currently working on a book manuscript on the emergence of environmental ethics and aesthetics in early 20th-century China.

Bethany Hopkins

Bethany Hopkins received her PhD in History focusing on the American West with a minor in Cross-Cultural Women’s and Gender History. Her research examines women in agriculture in turn-of-the-century California.

Ted Geier

Ted Geier (Comparative Literature) completed his dissertation in Spring 2015 titled “British and other nonhumans of the long nineteenth century: Abject forms in literature, law, and meat,” including studies of the Smithfield Market and the Butchers’ Guild, Penny Dreadfuls, law in Dickens and Kafka, and Romantic poetics. He teaches and publishes regularly on Italo Calvino, film studies, and contemporary ecotheory and literature, and he is the current Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Liaison to the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. Ted also founded and coordinates the Interdisciplinary Animal Studies Group at UC Davis, which recently held the multi-day international conference, “All Things Great and Small” (

Mary E. Mendoza

Mary E. Mendoza received her PhD in History focusing on U.S. environmental and borderlands history and has a minor in Latin American History. Her research examines the environmental impacts of border fences along the U.S.-Mexico border. She also has interests in race, gender, and public health.

Antonia Mehnert

Antonia Mehnert received her PhD in 2014 from the Rachel Carson Doctoral Program in Environment and Society at the University of Munich. Her dissertation project, entitled “Climate Change Fictions: Representations of Global Warming in American Literature” focuses on future scenarios of climate change in American literature. Antonia received her M.A. degree in American Studies, Latin-American studies and Economics at the University of Potsdam and the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include ecocriticism, bioculture, Chicano Studies, transnationalism, and the Caribbean.

Raoul S. Liévanos

Raoul S. Liévanos received his PhD from UC Davis in 2013 and is now an assistant professor in the Sociology Department at Washington State University. His primary interests include environmental sociology, urban and community sociology, organizational and political sociology, social movements, race and ethnic relations, science and technology studies, and mixed-methods research. In his dissertation, he used qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the dynamics of a “new urban-environmental crisis” unfolding in the continental United States, particularly in the “extreme case” of the Stockton metropolitan area. In this work, he showed how interracial and interethnic factors and patterns of residential and industrial development has spatially concentrated the risk of exposure to food insecurity, home foreclosure, toxic contaminants, and climate-related sea level rise in select neighborhoods in the Stockton metropolitan area.

Jordan Scavo

Jordan Scavo received his PhD History with a focus on U.S. urban environmental history. His research centers on postwar urban development and redevelopment.