Sophia Bamert headshot

Sophia Bamert

Postdoctoral Fellow

I study American literature, especially from the late nineteenth century through the contemporary, with an emphasis on critical geography, race studies, urban studies, and environmental justice. My training in the environmental humanities taught me that narrative and culture shape our definitions and expectations of nature, and my childhood in New York City made me an ardent city lover. I am interested in spatial and phenomenological experiences of urban-ness, in the ways that texts produce and reinforce those experiences, and, especially, in how urban spaces have been made to be uneven and unequal across race, ethnic, and class lines.

I am excited to share and to explore the newest direction my research is taking with my students in The Aesthetics of Infrastructure. I like to combine interdisciplinary analysis with close literary and rhetorical reading, and with infrastructure as our theme, I hope my students and I will co-create an exploratory space to think creatively about how artistic works uniquely grapple with topics including race, gender, class, colonialism, and the environment. I believe that knowledge production and critical thinking begin with the practice of observation, which is a skill I ask my students to hone, whether through noting the most minute mechanics of a text or paying attention to their physical surroundings on their walk to class. Observing helps us to understand the world—and the narratives that shape the world—as well as to ask how we might make it otherwise. My teaching is also rooted in commitments to writing and to collaboration: I encourage my students to see both reflective writing and conversations with peers as integral to their intellectual pursuits.

I hold my PhD in English with a designated emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies from the University of California, Davis, and I have also taught as a Visiting Lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg–Universität in Mainz, Germany. As someone who has always loved the arts and sciences—as an undergraduate at Oberlin College I double majored in Environmental Studies and English—I am thrilled to teach in the Engagements program, where I can think with and learn from colleagues and students across disciplines.