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About Dr. Rochelle Johnson



American literature, transatlantic romanticism, environmental humanities.

Personal Statement

I live in the stunning sage-brush steppe of southwestern Idaho, after growing up in the forests and meadows of my native New England. I studied at Bates College (B.A., English, 1990) and then worked for two years in the health insurance industry in Cambridge, learning—in addition to the “9 to 5” commuter lifestyle—that an English major‘s skills in analytical thinking, precise expression, and conceptual organization are deeply valued in the business world. I then went west to Claremont Graduate University (M.A., Ph.D., 1999), where I studied American literature and benefited from taking courses in environmental history. In the 1990’s, the field of “environmental humanities” was emerging, though not known by that name. I was fortunate to get involved just as the field was taking off and just as ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, was forming and creating the first conferences focused on literature and environment. Thanks to great mentors and encouraging professors, I was able to center my dissertation work on a historicized reading of the cultural work performed by nineteenth-century natural history. While my interests have changed over the years, once centering on theories of power and ecocriticism and later on new materialism and political theories of perception and phenomenology, my fascinations with power, language, and materiality sustain and guide me. I value finding ways for my academic scholarship to have public relevance in our politically and environmentally violent age. On a more personal note, I enjoy exploring the vitality of matter through yoga, gardening, and running.

Professional Experience

For additional information on my research and teaching, please visit my website:


  • Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
  • M.A., Claremont Graduate University
  • B.A., Bates College


Passions for Nature: Nineteenth-Century America's Aesthetics of Alienation. University of Georgia Press, 2009.
Essays on Nature and Landscape, by Susan Fenimore Cooper. Edited and with an introduction by Rochelle Johnson and Daniel Patterson. Foreword by John Elder. University of Georgia Press, 2002.
Susan Fenimore Cooper: New Essays on Rural Hours and Other Works. Edited and with an Introduction by Rochelle Johnson and Daniel Patterson. Foreword by Lawrence Buell. University of Georgia Press, 2001.
Rural Hours, by Susan Fenimore Cooper. Edited and with an Introduction by Rochelle Johnson and Daniel Patterson. University of Georgia Press, 1998.
Reading the Earth: New Directions in the Study of Literature and the Environment. Edited and with an Introduction by Michael P. Branch, Rochelle Johnson, Daniel Patterson, and Scott Slovic.  University of Idaho Press, 1998.