Ph.D. Columbia University. Rob Nixon is the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professor in the Humanities and the Environment. He is affiliated with the Princeton Environmental Institute’s initiative in the environmental humanities. Before joining Princeton in 2015, Nixon held the Rachel Carson Professorship in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was active in the Center for Culture, History and Environment. He is the author of four books:London Calling: V.S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin (Oxford); Homelands, Harlem and Hollywood: South African Culture and the World Beyond (Routledge); Dreambirds: The Natural History of a Fantasy (Picador); and Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard), which was selected by Choice as an outstanding book of 2011. Slow Violence has received four prizes: an American Book Award; the 2012 Sprout prize from the International Studies Association for the best book in environmental studies; the 2012 Interdisciplinary Humanities Award for the best book to straddle disciplines in the humanities; and the 2013 biennial ASLE Award for the best book in environmental literary studies. Dreambirds was named by Esquire as one of the ten best books of the year and by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. Nixon is a frequent contributor to the New York Times. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, The Nation, London Review of Books, The Village Voice, The Independent, Slate,Truthout, Huffington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry,South Atlantic Quarterly, Cultural Studies, Public Culture, New Formations and elsewhere. He has published extensively in the fields of environmental studies, postcolonial studies, nonfiction and contemporary literature and has delivered lectures on six continents.
Throughout his career, he has sought to engage in both scholarly and public writing on environmental concerns and social movements, particularly as they pertain to the global South. As his publications, teaching and institutional initiatives attest, Nixon believes that in an era of increasingly elaborate global entanglements we need to engage seriously with the diverse genealogies of environmental studies and with the wide spectrum of what counts as environmentalism in different parts of the world, be they rich or poor, crowded or sparsely inhabited, urban or rural, religious or secular, imminently threatened or provisionally secure. His areas of particular interest include environmental justice, climate change and the interface between the environmental humanities and the public humanities. He is excited by the transformative energy now evident in the environmental humanities, as collectively we think beyond restrictive borders and narrow disciplinary mandates. He welcomes the ascent of the environmental humanities as an opportunity to generate vital new forms of storytelling alongside fresh interdisciplinary perspectives on some of the most challenging concerns of our time. Nixon has been the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation Peace and Security Fellowship, and a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (which he declined) and is a former Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities(link is external). He has held residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center and other leading artists’ colonies. Nixon is currently working on a collection of essays on environmental justice in the Anthropocene.