Assistant Professor of Spanish

Maria Woolson’s work brings together the worldviews of science and humanities through teaching and research. Her background combines formal education in the natural sciences and the humanities, and her primary areas of study include the environmental humanities and Latin American cultural representations of the 20th and 21st centuries.

She has published on a variety of fields, including the recently edited bilingual volume “A Sustainable Future for Latin America?” (2020), and numerous articles in ecocriticism, performance studies and pedagogy. At the intersection of interdisciplinary work and traditional knowledge, her chapter “From Management to Governance: Rethinking Water Policy and Privatization on Easter Island” (2016) addresses water governance and sustainability in the remote island of Rapa Nui, Chile.  She also published a book collaboration of a historic study of 8 Reals Cobs, the hand-made coins of colonial Potosí, titled Re-engraving Assayer’s Initials in Potosi Cobs (2013).

Maria is senior co-chair of the Environmental section for LASA (Latin American Studies Association), and an executive committee member of its New England chapter NECLAS. She is also an active member of the international network Routes towards Sustainability and the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE).

Languages spoken:

  • Spanish, Italian, English (native/near-native)
  • Portuguese (advanced)
  • French (reading)

Research and/or Creative Works

Her current research is framed by sustainability as a paradigm for interdisciplinary studies. She focuses on transcultural perspectives in ecocriticism, and biocultural diversity as an empirical approach to the study of identity and conservation, through works that enable her to engage the politics of identity in a region rich in diverse worldviews and ontological knowledge.  Currently she is working on a manuscript about ecocriticism in Latin America at the turn-of-the-millennium, which includes field research in Rapa Nui; and a book that will bring to English audiences three recent plays by Argentine playwright Griselda Gambaro.


Books and Edited Volumes
2020 “A Sustainable Future for Latin America?” Special issue of A Contracorriente Edited by M.A. Woolson, No 17 No.2
2013 Re-engraving Assayer’s Initials in Potosi Cobs. English-Spanish edition. Co-authored with Emilio Paoletti. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
2019 “Teaching Ecocriticism And The Global South. A View of Latin American Environmental Thinking through the Environmental Humanities.” ESLA A Journal of Cultural and Literary Criticism. No 17
2018 “The Melting of Humankind. How Art Deepens our Dialogue about Climate Change.” ReVista. Harvard Review of Latin America. Spring-summer: 26-29. Web.
2015 “Sustainability as a Pedagogical Principle in Liberal Arts Education: Explorations from the Foreign Language classroom.” International Journal of Sustainability Education. 11 3: 23-34. Web.
2013 “Resignifying Environmental Epistemology through Latin America’s Artistic Representation: A Sustainability Perspective from the Humanities.” The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social & Cultural Context, 8. 3: 175-188. Web.
2012 “Designing a Virtual Social Space for Language Acquisition.” International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE) 3. 3: 21-42. Web.
2012 “Articulación del mito Eva Perón en la narrativa de Tomás Eloy Martínez: un performance político materializado en el cuerpo.” Divergencias, Revista de estudios lingüísticos y literarios, 10. 2: 20-29. Web.

Chapters in Scholarly Books and Monographs
2018 “The Gift of a Different Gaze: A Social-Environmental Imagination of Collective Meaning in Helen Escobedo’s Installations, 1997-2010.” RCEI Special Issue Natura Loquens/Natura Agens: In Dialogue and Interaction with the Environment. Carmen Flys & Juan I. Oliva, Eds. Universidad de La Laguna Press.
2016. “From Management to Governance: Rethinking Water Policy and Privatization on Easter Island.” The Politics of Freshwater. Access, Conflict and Identity. Tamar Mayer & Catherine Ashcraft, Eds. Abingdon: Rutledge. Print.

Associations and Affiliations

  • Senior Co-Chair of Environmental Section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
  • Executive Committee member New England Council of Latin American Studies (NECLAS)
  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) & EASLCE
  • Routes towards Sustainability (ROUTES)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Association for Borderland Studies (ABS)
Maria Woolson

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Environmental humanities, 20th and 21st century Latin American literature and cultural studies, ecocriticism, ethnicity and cultural identity, performance studies, postcolonial theory and language pedagogy


  • Ph.D. Spanish, The University of Arizona


  • (802) 656-0723
Office Location:

522 Waterman

  1. M. Woolson: SnapPages

Courses Taught

  • SPAN 1100: Elementary I
  • SPAN 1200: Elementary II
  • SPAN 2100: Intermediate I
  • SPAN 3110: Composition & Conversation
  • SPAN 3120: Spanish Grammar
  • SPAN 3610: Analyzing Hispanic Literatures
  • HCOL 1000: Honors College Freshman Seminar, The Pursuit of Knowledge
  • HCOL 1500: Honors College Freshman Seminar, Climate Crisis and Latin America
  • HCOL 2000: Honors College Sophomore Seminar: Environment, Ecocriticism, and Being Global