Phillip Drake

Associate Professor
Primary office:
3028 Wescoe Hall
University of Kansas


Areas of Research

Environmental Rhetoric and Literature, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Ecocriticism, Animal Studies, Marxism, Science Fiction

Selected Publications

“Seeing Disaster in Double: Indonesia’s Mud Volcano and the Politics of Representation.” Disasters (Forthcoming 2015).

“Marxism and the Nonhuman Turn: Animating Nonhumans, Exploitation and Politics with ANT and Animal Studies.” Rethinking Marxism 27:1 (2015): 107-122.

“Under the Mud Volcano: Indonesia’s Mudflow Victims and the Politics of Testimony.” Indonesia and the Malay World 41:121 (2013): 299-321.

“The Goat that Couldn’t Stop the Mud Volcano: Animal Sacrifice, Subjectivity, and East Java’s Mud Volcano.” Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies 4:1 (2012). 

“Forbidden Love and Productive Friction: Taking Transgression Mainstream in the Pop Song, ‘Cinta Terlarang.’” Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific 28 (2012).

“Art and Power in the Age of Empire: Greg Egan’s Society of Control.” Extrapolation 52:1 (2011): 5-25.

Faculty Profile

My teaching and research explore the ways cultural expression both shapes and is shaped by the nonhuman world. This work involves examining and problematizing human and nonhuman relationships through literature, public discourse, cultural beliefs and practices, and political movements. I am particularly interested in the ways conceptions of nature, humanity, technology, and art become contested and change across historical and cultural contexts, and the effects of this mutability on our social and ecological relationships in the world.

I am currently completing a book project that examines representations of a famous and controversial mud volcano in Indonesia, which was triggered by energy drilling (and/)or a distant earthquake. This interdisciplinary project incorporates textual and rhetorical analyses along with ethnographic fieldwork to observe the ways people both understand and respond to complicated environmental disasters. Beyond examining political and cultural concerns that are specific to the affected region in East Java, this project prompts broader questions about nature, justice, and public policy in relation to other hazards with both human and nonhuman causes, like disease pandemics, pollution, and extreme weather events caused by global warming.

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