Jesse D. Peterson is a postdoctoral researcher and Posthumanities Hub research coordinator at Linkopings University. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and was a PhD candidate with the Environmental Humanities Laboratory located at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He holds an MSc in Environmental Humanities and an MFA in Poetry and Translation.
He is a social science and humanities scholar that researches conceptual, technological, and physical changes and how these changes inform and shape human relationships to environmental phenomena. His research illustrates how interest groups (including scientists, policymakers, artists, etc.) ascribe meaning, value, and purpose to environmental phenomena in contemporary and historical contexts through cultural, social, and creative analyses and methodologies.
His postdoctoral research queries biodiversity loss and how digital technologies shape the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of naturalists, scientists, and participating members in citizen science projects focused on conservation and ecology. Specifically, he is involved in researching the adoption of digital database technology and the spread of biodiversity data, the challenges citizen science pose to pre-existing ethical guidelines and policies, and how AI influences biodiversity observers and observations. His PhD dissertation presents his research on the global problem of cultural eutrophication—a form of ecological change characterised by nutrient pollution, algal blooms, and dead zones. Focusing on the Baltic Sea, this study attempts the first in-depth analysis of cultural eutrophication from a humanities perspective in order to identify values and meanings attached to water, nutrients, algal blooms, and dead zones, to argue for understanding the creation of waste as ecological rather than social, and to develop alternative narratives among other aims. He is also co-editing a book on how objects, places, and discourses assist in delimiting the dead and dying in order to show how matter and story congeal into practices that inform understandings of not only human death but the death of other creatures and environments.
He has taught or been a teaching assistant in over 20 courses in environmental history, gender and technology, literature, creative writing, rhetoric, and technical writing. In his spare time, he and some colleagues founded and produced the environmental humanities journal, saltfront. He has also been awarded various fellowships in addition to grants provided by the Seedbox for a writing workshop on environmental humanities and other organizations for field work and translation. Outside academia, Jesse has worked for non-profits and local government in the USA and abroad, having led and coordinated professional and volunteer projects on ecological rehabilitation, monitoring, and interpretation. He has also done permaculture design, revised city code, and acted as a writing coordinator for science and engineering students.
Environmental Humanities for a Concerned Europe (ENHANCE)
The Posthumanities Hub
European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture, and Environment
European Society for Environmental History (ESEH)
Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network
Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC)
Network in Canadian History and Environment (NICHE)
Publications (last 5 years)
Journal Articles & Chapters (peer reviewed)
Sea Farming and Feminist Blue Humanities. Special Issue of Journal for Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. Co-edited with Cecilia Åsberg. (Forthcoming 2023).
“Seeking an Algal Perspective: Exploring ‘Harmful’ Algae through an Interview with Nodularia spumigena.” Being Algae: Transformations in Water Plant Studies. Brill Critical Plant Studies. Eds. Yogi Hale Hendlin, Sergio Mugnai, Natalia Derossi, and Johanna Weggelaar. Leiden: Brill. (Forthcoming 2023).
“Storying Toxic Time-Scape ‘Trajectories’: Intersections among algal toxins and more-than-human bodies.” Toxic Time-Scapes: Examining Toxicity Across Time and Space. Eds. Simone M. Müller and May-Brith Ohman Nielson. Athens: Ohio University Press. (Release Date in December 2022).
“Inter/National Connections: Linking Nordic Animals to Biodiversity Observation Networks.” Routledge Handbook of the Digital Environmental Humanities. Co-authored with Dick Kasperowski and René van der Wal. Eds. Charles Travis, Luke Bergmann, Arlene Crampsie, Deborah Dixon, Steven Hartman, Robert Legg, and Francis Ludlow London: Routledge. 12 September 2022.
“The Metaphor of Ocean ‘Health’ is Problematic; ‘The Ocean We Want’ is a Better Term.” Co-authored with Susanna Lidström and Tirza Meyer. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9. 15 February 2022. pp. 1-4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.818229
“Doing Environmental Humanities: Inter/Transdisciplinary Research through an Underwater 360° Video Poem.” Green Letters, 23:1. Mar. 2019, pp. 68-82. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Global Environments: A 360º Visual Journey. Rachel Carson Center Virtual Exhibitions, Co-authored with Norum, R., Antonova, A.S., Jones, J.C., Lagier, C., Lakhani, V., Oomen, J., Sébire, A. and Yoho, S.E., 2019. p. 36.
“Are dead zones dead? Environmental collapse in popular media about eutrophication.” The Discourses of Environmental Collapse: Imagining the end. Ed. Alison Vogelaar, Brack Hale, and Alexandra Peat. April 20, 2018.
“A Rushing Mighty Wind.” Breathing Stories: Utah Voices for Clean Air. Salt Lake City: Torrey House Press. 2018.
“I Saw You Running Home.” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. 2018.
Three Strains from adamsongs. Terrain.org. Summer. 2014.
“Aureliana Sky.” Saltfront. Salt Lake City, UT. October 2013.
“The High Risers.” Mapping SLC. Salt Lake City, UT. 2013.
“Trace Materials,” “Pharaoh’s Prayer,” and “Leisure for the Chase.” The Provo Canyon Review, vol. 1, issue 3, Fall 2013.
“Untitled – Notes.” Handbook. Denmark. Summer, 2013.
Editorials, and Blog posts
Peterson, Jesse; Allen, Irma; Valisena, Daniele; and Gough, Anne. “What if…? Redefining research impact from an environmental humanities perspective.” Transformative Humanities. KTH. Sep. 2018.
Peterson, Jesse. “Can Water Die?: Report on PhD mid-Seminar on Algal Blooms and the Baltic Sea.” WaterBlog@KTH: Reflect, Rethink, Refill. May 2018
Peterson, Jesse and Boutet, Jean-Sebastien. “The Interruptor: A (late) review of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene.” Transformative Humanities. Division of History of Science, Technology, and Environment. 2018.
Peterson, Jesse. “Undisciplined Discipline Writing Workshop.” ENHANCE Blog. 2017.
Peterson, Jesse and Zahara, Alex. “Anthropocene Adjustments: Discarding the Technosphere.” Discard Studies Blog. 26 May 2016. https://discardstudies.com/2016/05/26/anthropocene-adjustments-discarding-the-technosphere/
Exhibitions & Workshops
“Nourish: a 360° Video Poem.” Umveltzschmerz. Deutsches Museum. Oct. 2018.
“The Sea Inside.” Land Lines & The Living Seas Centre. Flamborough Head, Sep. 2018.
“Dysmetria, mine.” Exhibition at Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Salt Lake City, UT. April 2014.