Fellowships and Awards
Simpson Center Society of Scholars (2017-2018). Bruce Harkness Award, Joseph Conrad Society of America (2012). American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) New Faculty Fellowship (2011-2013).
Research and teaching interests
Victorian literature and culture; environmentalism and ecological theory; the Anthropocene; Earth System Humanities; empire and imperialism; history of science.
My research focuses on industrialization and empire in the nineteenth century and their relevance for tracing the emergence of the Anthropocene, a proposed designation within the Geologic Time Scale (GTS) acknowledging human disruption of the Earth System. I teach courses on Victorian Britain and the British Empire, especially centered on Darwin and evolutionary theory, and the environmental humanities.
My recent book, The Sky of Our Manufacture: The London Fog in British Fiction from Dickens to Woolf, traces the conceptual emergence of climate change the soot-laden London fog (i.e., "smog") of London in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. It argues that aesthetics, especially the novel, re-frame our perception in order to come to terms with an environment in which everything, including the weather, bears the imprint of human action.
Work in Progress
My current research explores the concept of the Anthropocene, especially in terms of the way it opens new methodological intersections between the humanities and the sciences, an approach Tobias Menely and I have been calling the Earth System Humanities. At present, I am approaching this topic through Victorian evolutionary theory, asking how nineteenth century debates around species, geologic time, extinction, and the fossil record must be re-evaluated in light of the human species's emergence as a geologic agent at planetary scale during the same period. This project is in its early stages, but several articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals and edited collections. I am also co-editor (with Tobias Menely, UC-Davis) of Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times, (Penn State University Press, 2017), and co-organizer (with Jason Groves, UW Germanics) of a Simpson Center Interdisciplinary Research Cluster on the Anthropocene.
- Taylor, Jesse Oak. “Atmosphere as Setting, or, ‘Wuthering’ the Anthropocene.” In Climate and Literature, edited by Adeline Johns-Putra, 31–44. Cambridge Critical Concepts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. doi:10.1017/9781108505321.003.
- Taylor, Jesse Oak. "Wilderness After Nature: Conrad, Empire, and the Anthropocene" in Lissa Scheider Rebozo, Jefferey Mathes McCarthey, and John G. Peters, Eds., Conrad and Nature (London: Routledge, 2018).
- Taylor, Jesse Oak. "Mourning Spcies: In Memoriam in an Age of Extinction" in Nathan K. Hensley and Philip Steer, Eds., Ecological Form: System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018), 42-62.
- Jesse Oak Taylor, "The Novel After Nature, Nature After the Novel: Richard Jefferies's Anthropocene Romance," Studies in the Novel 50.1 (Spring 2018): 108-133.
- "Globalize,” in Jeffery Jerome Cohen & Lowell Duckert, Eds. Veer Ecologies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 2017), 30-43.
- Jesse Oak Taylor, "While the World Burns: Joseph Conrad and the Delayed Decoding of Catastrophe.”19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century. 25 (2017): DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ntn.798
- Tobias Menely & Jesse Oak Taylor, Eds. Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times. Penn State University Press, 2017.
- Tobias Menely and Jesse Oak Taylor, Eds. Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times (Penn State University Press, 2017).
- Jesse Oak Taylor, "Anthropocene Inscriptions: Reading Global Synchrony," Boundary 2 Online (b2o) October 6, 2016.
- Jesse Oak Taylor, The Sky of Our Manufacture: The London Fog in British Fiction from Dickens to Woolf (University of Virginia Press, 2016).
- Jesse Oak Taylor, "Where is Victorian Ecocriticism?" Victorian Literature and Culture 43 (2015): 877-894.
- Jesse Oak Taylor, "Auras and Ice Cores: Atmospheric Archives and the Anthropocene," the minnesota review 83 (2014): 73-82.
- Jesse Oak Taylor. “Powers of Zero: Aggregation, Negation, and the Dimensions of Scale in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People.” Literature and Medicine 31:2 (Fall 2013), 177-198.
- Jesse Oak Taylor. “The Novel as Climate Model: Reading the Greenhouse Effect in Bleak House.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 46:1 (Spring 2013), 1-25.
- Jesse Oak Taylor, "White Skin, White Masks: Joseph Conrad and the Masks of Imperial Manhood," Conradiana 44.2-3 (Winter 2012): 191-210.
- Daniel C. Taylor, Carl E. Taylor, and Jesse Oak Taylor, Empowerment on an Unstable Planet: From Seeds of Human Energy to a Scale of Global Change (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Research Advised: Graduate Dissertations
- Holmes, Jessica Michelle. An Applied Vegan Poetics. 2021. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.
- Daud, Sumayyah. The Demarcation Zone: The Victorian Search for a Global Past. 2020. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.
- McCauley, Alex. Victorian Atlantis: Drowning, Population, and Property in the Nineteenth-Century Novel. 2020. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.
- Schaumberg, Ned. Waterlogged: Narrating Hydroecologies in the Anthropocene. 2018. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.
Summer 2016 B-term
Summer 2015 B-term
- Faculty Awards and Achievements - November 16, 2023
- English Department Faculty Featured in new Humanities Podcast - October 12, 2023
- Recommended Reading Spring 2023 - May 26, 2023
- Professor Jesse Oak Taylor Records Podcast for the Simpson Center's Going Public: Reimagining the PhD Series - December 6, 2022
- English and the Humanities Adapt and Thrive - December 18, 2021
- Professor Jesse Oak Taylor Elected to Leadership Role in the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment - December 8, 2021
- Recommended Reading - May 25, 2021
- Faculty and Staff Notes - September 2, 2020
- Staff Profile / Nancy Sisko, Director of Undergraduate Advising - September 2, 2020
- Announcing new English department "Literature, Language, Culture" Dialogue Series - May 28, 2020
- Episode 1: Professor Jesse Oak Taylor on What Novels Can Teach Us About Cyclone Amphan and COVID-19 - May 28, 2020
- A literary view of the human era: Jesse Oak Taylor's new book, Anthropocene Reading - December 9, 2019
- Faculty Notes - May 15, 2019
- Lee Scheingold Lecture in Poetry and Poetics - November 30, 2018
- Faculty and Staff Notes - November 30, 2018
- Faculty and Staff Notes - May 30, 2018
- Faculty Publications - May 21, 2018
- Jesse Oak Taylor Wins First Book Prize - February 9, 2018
- Faculty and Staff Notes - November 17, 2017
- New Essay Collection on Literature and the Earth Sciences - October 18, 2017
- Faculty Publications - May 30, 2017
- Jesse Oak Taylor Wins the 2017 Ecocriticism Book Prize - May 24, 2017
- Professor Jesse Oak Taylor a National Finalist for a Prize in Ecocriticism - March 28, 2017
- Two English Department Faculty and a Doctoral Candidate Win Fellowships - January 18, 2017
- Emerging Directions and Continuing Traditions in the English Department - May 6, 2015
- New Faculty - November 3, 2014