I am an interdisciplinary humanities scholar who specializes in cultural studies, popular fictions, and environmental humanities. My program of scholarly research blends narratology and ecocriticism through a critical focus on storyworlds and worldbuilding, and my teaching in these areas has been recognized by an award for excellence in online teaching. I have nearly a decade of experience working in open-access, academic publishing with Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies. I also have experience mentoring and supervising both undergraduate and graduate students.
The co-edited collection An Ecotopian Lexicon (U of Minnesota P, 2019) exemplifies critical worldbuilding: it presents 30 loanwords from science fiction, environmental activism, and languages other than English for ecological struggles and just climate futures. Leading scholars working in public-facing venues have already offered significant critical acclaim for the project. For instance, in Science Geographer Deborah Dixon says that the book, imparts “the complexities of everyday life in an era of warming skies and oceans, mass degradation, precarity, and insecurity, each of which also helps map a possible future.” For the New Yorker, literary scholar Hua Hsu explains that An Ecotopian Lexicon is a story “with a dozen different endings, bound by a collective push to rethink what we resign to inevitability.” The book does not aim to have readers programmatically adopt these words, but to ask them to consider which ones resonate here, now, and why.
My monograph Remainders of the American Century (Wesleyan UP 2021) is the first major study of post-apocalyptic fiction to treat the mode as an expression and critique of the publishing industry and a cry of cultural angst over the decline of US power. The book theorizes the status of the remainder, which simultaneously describes a storyworld fragment from before, a writerly way of thinking about catastrophe, and an unacknowledged bias of the narrative. Senior scholars have described it as “a gripping and timely history” (Veronica Hollinger) that “offers a powerful theorization of how such narratives help us live in the wake of the ongoing apocalypse left by colonialism and capitalism” (Sherryl Vint). I have published additional materials from this research project on remainders in journals, Canadian Review of American Studies, The Cormac McCarthy Journal, Mediations, and Western American Literature, and edited collections, Transportation and the Culture of Climate Change (WVUP 2020), The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (Cambridge UP 2019), and Green Planets (Wesleyan UP 2014).
The following examples represent my ongoing research project on climate, mediation, and worldbuilding. I co-edited a special issue of Science Fiction Studies that addresses the confluence of science fiction and the climate crisis (2018). I published an article on the subject: “Representing Climate and Science as Politics in the Mars Trilogy” (Resilience 2020). My most recent publication “Ecology with Totality” (2022) compares the popular environmental writing of Timothy Morton and Naomi Klein for how they “think big” respectively through hyperobjects and the figure of “everything.” Totality inside out (Fordham UP) has personal resonance because it was organized by the late Kevin Floyd, a mentor and friend. Turning to forthcoming work, I have a piece titled “Mechanics of Resolution” in Uneven Futures (MIT Press 2022), edited by Ida Yoshinaga, Sean Guynes, and Gerry Canavan that describes the practices of community embedded in tabletop map drawing games.
Innovative course design and pedagogical collaboration excite me about the possibilities of the classroom, actual or virtual. In 2021, I taught a collaboratively designed online course on North American Petrocultures with Moritz Ingwersen (TU Dresden) and Rachel Webb Jekanowski (Memorial University of Newfoundland) at TU Dresden. We published a piece about collaborating across the Atlantic in Rice University’s Correspondences: A Forum for the Environment and were guests on Jessica McDonald’s Teachin’ Books SSHRC-funded podcast to discuss course design, teaching the climate crisis, and collaborating across institutions. As an educator, I find ways to reflect on my work in the classroom in multiple modalities and to make my experiences accessible to the wider community of teachers and learners. Meaningfully blending research through academics, pedagogy into politics, and colleagues across institutions is core to my practice as a post-secondary educator and academic.
I have mentored graduate students from a variety of programs and institutions: since 2018, I served on two MA committees as external examiner, on one PhD defence committee as internal-external examiner, supervised one MA major research project, and currently sit on one PhD committee as second reader. I have had several opportunities to teach in graduate courses at the University of Alberta, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Trent University. I guide graduate students as they navigate the world of academic and more-than-academic publishing and learn to think expansively about pedagogy and practice.
As for conversations about curriculum, one of the legible conflict points in English literature departments has been the periodization of the discipline according to the ongoing centrality of British literature. Course offerings in English departments tend to place British writing in recognizable historical increments at the core of our work even though such offerings may not reflect current faculty research or student interest. As the rallying cry of justice-seeking movements echoes through university halls, English departments across Canada have an opportunity to reflect on how to represent and teach the discipline. My position is that each department could produce a critical account of their collective position on the discipline that includes all faculty members, tenure-line, teaching, and sessional, and student representatives. We need to answer the following questions with the rigor and clarity we demand of our students: what do we want to teach, how do we want to teach it, and why do we want to teach it?
Emergent climate narratives, new ecological words, genre publishing landscapes, collaboratively imagining new worlds, and a commitment to accessible knowledge: these describe my academic trajectory. I empower others to imagine new possibilities, create social connections, and succeed in varied career paths. I am committed to anti-racist, decolonial, and feminist pedagogy as well as trans liberation.
Brent Ryan Bellamy lives in Toronto, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. The city is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
When not playing tabletop games, he is a teacher, a writer, and an editor.