Adrienne Ghaly

Adrienne Ghaly

Assistant Professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D New York University; M.A. New York University; B.A. University of Chicago

I specialize in the modern and contemporary novel, environmental humanities, novel studies, theory, and how literature and humanities methods can address public advocacy and policy change on climate and environmental justice. My research interests include the novel and post-novelistic media, archives of biodiversity loss and species extinction, the literature of planetary crisis, and the critical methods and ways of thinking the novel affords to address the climate and biodiversity crises.

My first book project is Novel Proximities: On Closeness and Relational Life. It explores extreme proximities between characters and nonhuman worlds in modern and contemporary novels of late realism. It argues that these texts’ cultural and philosophical significance is their pursuit of relations that exist at the limits of the identifiably relational. In doing so, they speak to the most urgent question of our historical moment: how to envision, write, and bring to visibility complex relations to the nonhuman and material world?

Emerging from a long-term engagement with extinction studies and a multi-year research project, my second book-length project, provisionally titled Archives of Extinction: Mass Biodiversity Loss and the Aesthetics of Everyday Life, tracks the multi-scalar effects of ‘everyday’ practices and the documents that record them, reframing the biocultural significance of novels, songs, advertisements, and art in the 20th and 21st centuries.

From 2022-2023 I was a Humanitarian Collaborative Practitioner Fellow at the UVA Global Policy Center where I was co-creator of a global initiative at the intersection of literature, literary studies, and public policy and advocacy, Read for Action: Climate, Conflict, and Humanitarian Crisis, in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

English Department Profile