Eco-Colonial Australian literature: environment, species, climate

Professor Ken Gelder

This ARC funded Discovery Project (2017-2020) aims to consider how colonial Australian literary writing shaped Australia’s environmental consciousness. It will explore how colonial Australian literature expressed ecological issues: questions of land clearance, species classification, habitat, extinction, climate change and the effect of environmental disasters. By examining colonial Australian literary writing, natural historians’ works and debates about the management of resources, this project expects to reveal our literary past and add historical depth to current environmental concerns in Australia.


About Professor Ken Gelder

Ken Gelder is Professor of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is also a co-director (with Denise Varney) of the Australian Centre in the Faculty of Arts. His latest books include New Directions in Popular Fiction (Palgrave, 2016) and Adapting Bestsellers: Fantasy, Franchise and the Afterlife of Storyworlds which was published by Cambridge University Press in January 2020.

Ken is co-editor (with Rachael Weaver) of four anthologies of colonial popular fiction, covering the Gothic, crime fiction, romance and adventure (all published by MUP) as well as The Colonial Journals, and the emergence of Australian literary culture (University of Western Australia Publishing, 2014). His most recent book with Rachael Weaver is Colonial Australian Fiction: Character Types, Social Formations and the Colonial Economy (Sydney University Press, 2017). Their co-authored book The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt will be published by Melbourne University Publishing in March 2020.

Ken Gelder academic profile