My research and teaching examines how language encodes the stories we live by, and shapes how we see ourselves and our relationship with other animals and the earth. This involves linguistic analysis of a wide range of discourses, from advertising which encourages people to buy unnecessary and ecologically damaging products, to the inspirational language of nature writing.
I am founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association, which has more than 1100 members, and have been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching.
PhD: Linguistics, Lancaster University, 1996
National Teaching Fellow
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
My areas of teaching include communication for leadership, language and ethics, identity, ecolinguistics, and critical discourse analysis.
My research uses critical discourse analysis to analyse texts which are central in establishing identities and shaping society. I have analysed the discursive construction of health, illness, animals, masculinity, the environment, and disability.
My latest research examines global literature in the search for inspiring forms of language to help us reconnect with the natural world. As it becomes increasingly clear that the current stories that industrial society is based on are leading towards inequality and environmental destruction, the task of searching for new stories to live by becomes increasingly urgent. Literature is a key source for these new stories since it provides gateways to other possible worlds.
2021: Ecolinguistics as a transdisciplinary movement and a way of life. In Burkette, A. and Warhol, T., eds., 2021. Crossing Borders, Making Connections: Interdisciplinarity in Linguistics. Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
2020: Education for sustainability and the search for new stories to live by. In: J. Armon, S. Scoffham, and C. Armon, eds. Prioritizing Sustainability Education: A Comprehensive Approach. London: Routledge, 233–243.
2020: Towards a grammar of ecocultural identity. In Milstein, T. and Castro-Sotomayor, eds., 2020. Routledge handbook of ecocultural identity. New York: Routledge. [The edited volume was winner of the National Communication Association Book Award for Outstanding Environmental Scholarship. 2020]