Michael Ziser

Michael Ziser's picture

Position Title
Associate Professor of English

209 Voorhies
Office Hours
by appt


Ph.D. Harvard University, 2003
B.A. UC Berkeley, 1996

Mike Ziser joined the UC Davis English Department in 2003.  Rooted in literary and cultural history before the Civil War, Professor Ziser's research addresses questions about the image and agency of nonhuman nature in North American writing and visual arts, engaging along the way with ecocriticism, agrarianism, eco-phenomenology, food studies, science studies, media studies, religious studies, and bioregionalist thought and practice.  His book manuscript, Continent Ajar: Environmental Practice and Early American Writing, proposes a new theoretical and methodological approach to producing more-than-human literary histories.  As inaugural director of the UC Davis Environmental Humanities Research supercluster, Professor Ziser has worked to bring faculty and graduate students from different disciplines together to discuss environment-related work of common interest.  In May 2009, the cluster hosted a conference on California, the University, and the Environment, which examined the various roles that California colleges and universities have played in shaping the physical and ideological contours of the state.  As an Art of Regional Change faculty fellow, Mike has also begun to try to use the university's intellectual, technical, and social capital to forge links with communities in the Blue Mountain district of Calaveras county and, closer to home, the Bryte and Broderick neighborhoods of West Sacramento.  He serves as the Reviews Editor for Eighteenth-Century Studies.  His current household animal census includes two kids, two dogs, two fish, four chickens, fifty silk moths, and approximately 100,000 honey bees.


 Alexander Wilson, Poetry, Journalism, and Literary Prose.  Edited with an introduction by Michael Ziser.  The Early Americas Digital Archive.

  Alexander Wilson, The American Ornithology, edited by Michael Ziser.  The Early Americas Digital Archive.

Articles, Book Chapters, and Review Essays (as of April 2009)

 “Literary Profile of the Endangered Endemics of the California Floristic Province.”  Proceedings of the 2009 California Native Plant Society Conservation Conference.  Forthcoming.

 “Emersonian Terrorism: John Brown, Islam, and Post-Secular Violence.”  American Literature.  Forthcoming.

with Julie Sze, “Climate Change, Environmental Aesthetics, and Global Environmental Justice Cultural Studies.”  “Race, Environment, and Representation,” a special issue of Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture.  In press.

 “Transcendentalism and World Revolution.”  The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism.  Ed. Joel Myerson and Sandra Petrulionis.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).  In press.

“The Pomology of Eden: Apple Culture and Early New England Poetry.”  Early Modern Ecostudies: From the Florentine Codex to Shakespeare.  Ed. Thomas Hallock, Ivo Kamps, and Karen L. Raber.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.  193-215.

“Animal Mirrors: Poe, Lacan, Von Uexküll, and Audubon in the Zoosemiosphere.”  Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities12:3 (December 2007) 11-33.

“Wilderness.” American History Through Literature, 1820-1870.  Ed. Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer.  Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006.  1251-1258.

“Scalping the Appalachian Frontiers.”  Review Essay.  Eighteenth-Century Studies 39:1 (Fall 2005) 120-130.

“Sovereign Remedies: Natural Authority and the Counterblaste to Tobacco.”  The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, Volume LXII, Number 4 (October 2005) 719-744.

 “Walden and the Georgic Mode.”  Nineteenth Century Prose 31:2 (Fall 2004) 186-205.  Rep. in More Day to Dawn: Thoreau’s Walden for the Twenty-First Century.  Ed. Sandra Petrulionis and Laura Dassow Walls.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006.  171-188.

 “Thomas Nuttall,”  “Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,” and “Alexander Wilson.”  Early American Nature Writers: A Biographical Encyclopedia.  Ed. Daniel Patterson.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 2008) 275-280; 295-301; 288-293.


Education & Interests:

  1. Ph.D. (Harvard); American literature before 1900, literature and the environment, ecocriticism; food studies; bioregionalism; science studies