Life After UC Davis English PhD

Angela Hume (PhD Class of 2017)
 
 
In addition to asking Angie about her new job as an assistant professor of English, Creative Writing, and Environmental Literature, we discussed her current writing projects, and what it's been like to move to Minnesota.
 
To begin with, could you tell us a little bit about your new job at the University of Minnesota? What has the transition been like?
 
I work at University of Minnesota, Morris campus, which is a really special place. We're a public liberal arts college within the U of M system, so students get small class sizes and a liberal arts school culture, but for a fraction of the cost of a private school. My job is assistant professor of English, Creative Writing, and Environmental Literature. Because my position is interdisciplinary, I get to teach everything from literature and theory, to writing workshops, to straight-up environmental studies. I also get to collaborate across the disciplines. In January, for example, I'm co-teaching a study abroad course in Nicaragua on the topic of sustainability, from an anthropological perspective.

It was hard to leave the Bay Area, my home of 11 years. Some of the people I love the most in the world are in the Bay. But I love Minnesota, too; I was born and raised here. Minnesotans are really into things like lake swimming, and apples and beer, and local organizing and politics, and health care. And not to mention the U of M. Minnesotans love their U. It gets cold here, but there are easy remedies, such as long underwear and something called a "puffer coat," which I recently acquired.

 
And what are you teaching?
 
I teach five classes per year, everything from "Introduction to Literary Studies" to senior seminar. This spring, I'll teach an upper-division English class called "Carbon Energy Literatures." My first time studying carbon energy literatures was in Mike Ziser's "Petrocultures" seminar back in 2010, right after the BP Blowout. I've offered a couple versions of my class—there's more and more being published on the topic, and my syllabus keeps changing. Next academic year, I'm teaching a new course called "Decolonizing Environmental Criticism." I've been working with some of my colleagues in different departments on planning a series of courses on the topics of antiracism and decoloniality. One of the coolest things about teaching at a liberal arts college is that you can just dive into these sorts of collaborations. And UMM students are terrific—curious, creative, thoughtful, unassuming humans. Many are queer. Many are first-generation college students. Many are Native students.
 
In addition to being a professor, you're also a poet. What does writing poetry allow you to explore that writing criticism does not?
 
My research and creative work are intertwined—questions about lyric poetry, politics and power, and social/environmental justice are all over both my scholarly and creative work. But writing poetry allows me to write my way through messy constellations of affect, emotion, and environment in more open, undetermined forms.
 
Anything new in the works?
 
Two projects are coming to fruition: a book I co-edited with Gillian Osborne, titled Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field, out this March from U of Iowa P; and a special cluster I co-edited with Samia Rahimtoola on "Queering Ecopoetics," out this spring in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. I'm starting to imagine how I'll revise my dissertation into a book, and I'm also working on a new poetry book. The new poetry is about a lot of things—restoration ecologies and queer disappointment; the pervasiveness of misogyny and sexual violence in our histories and communities, and the body's stress and trauma responses to all of that garbage; and more. It might be a little bit about meat. It's definitely about queer attachment, and care.