Emily McGiffin

Sessional Lecturer

English, English and Cultural Studies
Office: FIP 322
Email: emily.mcgiffin@ubc.ca

Research Summary

Environmental literature, ecopoetry, extractivism, globalization, resistance and activism, creative writing and research creation, oral literature, critical race studies, development studies, Indigenous and Canadian literature

Courses & Teaching

IGS 524 Sustainability Theme Seminar, IGS 584 Professionalization Seminar, ENGL 156 Environmental Literature, ENGL 153 Readings in Narrative, ENGL 112 Studies in Composition


My work in the Environmental Humanities draws together contemporary concerns in arts, politics, and environmental justice. I am particularly concerned with questions related to environmental degradation, economic disparity, extractive industries, land and place, and artistic engagement with these themes.

I am currently a Lecturer at University of British Columbia, Okanagan where I teach courses in sustainability, composition, and environmental literature. I have held fellowships at York University and the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. In January 2021, I will begin a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at University College London where I will continue my work on environmental injustices and inequalities within the aluminum supply chain. In particular, my research examines the environmental devastation, social upheaval and human rights violations that have accompanied the expansion of the industry in Guinea and the role of artists within this milieu.

Alongside this research, I am working on a project of applied research and arts activism on Gitxsan territory in northern British Columbia. In partnership with the Misty Rivers Community Arts Council and Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, I am working to develop a centre for community arts and arts-based activism in the village of Hazelton. I also have an ongoing creative writing practice that includes two published books of poetry and publications in literary journals across Canada.




PhD, York University; MSc, SOAS, University of London

Selected Publications & Presentations

Scholarly Books

2019     Of Land, Bones, and Money: Toward a South African Ecopoetics. University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville.

Creative Books

2014     Subduction Zone. Pedlar Press. St. John’s, Newfoundland.

2012     Between Dusk and Night. Brick Books. London, Ontario.

Chapters in Books

2019     Thukela Poswayo’s poetry of dwelling. In: Geopoetics in Practice. Ed. E. Magrane, L. Russo, S. de Leeuw, C. Santos Perez. Routledge, New York.

Refereed Journals

2020     Academic-practitioner collaboration in an age of precarity. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 41(2).

2018     Oral poetry and development ideology in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 2:2-3, 279-295. Special edition: ‘What Witchcraft is this?’ Global Encounters Between Development, Magic and Spiritual Ontologies.

2016     The izibongo of resistance: Praise poets, trade unions and the violence of extractive capitalism. Green Letters, 20:2. Special edition: Ecology of Labour.

Creative Anthologies

2019     Cerro Rico. Words on the Edge. Codex Foundation, Extraction: Art at the Edge of the Abyss project.

2019     The Prodigious. Rising Tides. Halfmoon Bay, B.C.: Caitlin Press.

2019     with Rita Wong. Keeping Watch at Kwekwecnewtxw. Rising Tides. Halfmoon Bay, B.C.: Caitlin Press.

2017     Coal Trains. Refugium: Poems for the Pacific. Halfmoon Bay, B.C.: Caitlin Press.

Selected Grants & Awards

2020 Honourable mention, Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize for the Environmental Humanities and Creative Writing (Awarded by the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada)

2016   SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

2015     ASLE Environmental Creative Writing Book Award – $500

2014     CBC Poetry Prize Longlist

2013     Canadian Authors’ Association Poetry Prize Finalist

2013     League of Canadian Poets’ Raymond Souster Award Finalist

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

Association for Literature, Environment and Culture in Canada, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, Canadian Association for the Study of International Development, Modern Language Association, League of Canadian Poets


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