Lauren E. LaFauci

Visiting InstructorZink Hall 316
(918) 631-2816

Lauren LaFauci teaches courses in American literary and cultural studies and environmental humanities. She comes to Tulsa from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she taught American literary and cultural studies, writing, and literary theory at Notre Dame de Namur University (Belmont, California) and at Stanford University. She has also taught at the University of Michigan, where she completed her Ph.D.; at the University of Mainz, Germany; and most recently at Simpson College (Indianola, Iowa).

Lauren’s scholarly work focuses on the intersections of 18th- and 19th-century American literary, cultural, and environmental history. She is currently at work on a book project titled Peculiar Natures: Slavery, Environment, and Nationalism in the Southern States, 1789-1865, which unites the concerns of environmental history with those of the history of racial formation. It argues that conceptions of the South’s “natural” exceptionality—its climate, diseases, plants, and waters—supported a belief in individual and collective bodily difference, in the peculiarity of southern bodies and of the southern body politic. Ultimately, the book shows how white southerners extrapolated the distinctiveness of (local) southern environments to the distinctiveness of (national) southern bodies, and it demonstrates how this extrapolation strengthened their commitment to an environmentally informed racism.

Lauren’s research has appeared in the journals Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, Anthropology and Medicine, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (ISLE). Her work has received awards from the Andrew Mellon Foundation; the American Philosophical Society; the Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture at the University of Virginia; the Society for the Study of Southern Literature; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the University of Michigan; and the Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS).

Education and Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., English, University of Michigan, 2009
  • M.A., English, University of Michigan, 2003
  • B.A., English, German, Washington and Lee University, 2001

Previous Teaching Experience

Over 35 courses in American literature, culture, and history; environmental humanities; literary theory; and writing.

Areas of teaching interest and experience:

  • U.S. Literature, Beginnings to 1900
  • African American Literature, Beginnings to 1900
  • American Indian Literatures
  • American Women Writers
  • Histories of Race in North America
  • U.S. Nature Writing (Eur. contact to the present)
  • Ecocriticisms: History, Theory, Praxis
  • Literatures of Environmental Justice
  • Contemporary North American Environmental Literatures
  • Bioregional Approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Place-Based Pedagogies

Previous Relevant Work Experience

  • Assistant Professor, Simpson College (Indianola, Iowa)
  • Lecturer, Notre Dame de Namur University (Belmont, California)
  • Writing Instructor, Stanford University (Stanford, California)
  • Visiting Lecturer, Johannes-Gutenberg University (Mainz, Germany)

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society for Environmental History (ASEH)
  • American Studies Association (ASA); Environment & Culture Caucus member
  • Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE); Diversity Caucus member
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW)

Courses Taught at TU

  • Expository Writing (ENGL 1033)
  • Major American Writers (ENGL 2313)
  • Contemporary Fictions of the Environment (ENGL 3803)

Awards & Recognition

  • Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture, 2012-2013 University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia Elwood Visiting Fellowship
  • American Philosophical Society, 2012-2013, Franklin Research Grant
  • Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2008-2009, Dissertation Fellowship


  • Peculiar Natures: Race, Environment, and Nationalism in the Southern States, 1789-1865
    Book Manuscript in Progress
  • Black Bodies, Black Waters: Swampland, Racial Taxonomy, and the Limits of White Control.
    Peer-Reviewed Article
  • Taking the (Southern) Waters: Science, Slavery, and Nationalism at the Virginia Springs
    Lead article. Anthropology and Medicine 18.1 (April 2011): 7-22. Special Issue: “Healing Holidays?: Itinerant Patients, Therapeutic Locales, and the Quest for Health.”
  • A Divided Portrait: Versions of Wilderness in Timothy O’Sullivan’s Survey Photography
    Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory 7.1 (October 2005): 71-83. Special Issue: “New Connections in Ecocriticism.”