Maria Woolson’s work brings together the worldviews of science and humanities through teaching and research. Trained in biology, she worked in the environmental field for a few years before changing paths and focusing on the environmental humanities. Her primary areas of study include water culture and governance, ethnicity and identity, sustainable community practices, and Latin American cultural representations of the 20th and 21st centuries
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 engage the politics of identity in a region rich in diverse worldviews and ontological knowledge. She has published on a variety of fields, including the recently edited bilingual volume “A Sustainable Future for Latin America?” (2020), and numerous journal articles in ecocriticism, performance studies and sustainability pedagogy.
Maria has been invited to speak in several countries from four continents, and has brought many international scholars and artists to the UVM campus. 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 is the remote island of Rapa Nui, Chile. She is currently working on a manuscript about ecocriticism in Latin America at the turn-of-the-millennium, which includes field research in Rapa Nui.
Maria is senior co-chair of the Environmental section for LASA (Latin American Studies Association), and executive committee member of its New England chapter NECLAS.