Gund Affiliate, Lecturer, UVM Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences

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.


Books and Edited Volumes 

  • 2020 “A Sustainable Future for Latin America?” Special issue of A Contracorriente, 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. Print.

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.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles 

Scholars and artists I invited to UVM campus 

  • SPR’20 – Historian Michael Smith, “When History is Now. Climate, Gender and Sustainability - A case study from Nicaragua.” UVM February 18, 2020 (in English
  • SPR’19 – Film Scholar and Film Maker Eva Karene Romero, “Unrepresentable Violence: Making Kuña. A documentary about the struggle for gender equity in Paraguay” April 11th, 2019 (in English with class visits in Spanish)
  • FALL’18 – Brazilian Artist Nele Azevedo, “Minimum Monument,” a sculptural installation made of 1000 ice scultures, created by student volunteers at Williams Hall and displayed/performed at Burlington City Hall. October 20th, 2018 @ 2:00 pm.
  • SPR’18 – Literature and technology intersection. Hispanic Studies Scholar: Scott Weintraub “Latin American Techno-poetics: Scientific Explorations in New Media.” March 2018. UVM
  • SPR’18 – Argentine sculptor, Vivianne Duchini, “Sculpting Nature: Challenges and Opportunities of Animal Art in the Latin American Imaginary.” UVM, April 2018
  • FALL’17 - Environmental Humanist Scholar John Elder, “Stay together, /learn the flowers, /go light": Reflections on Community and Sustainability.” UVM, October 18th, 2017
  • SPR’17- Mexican Writers in Diaspora: Ricardo Chávez Castañeda, “New convergences in 21st century narrative: the author as protagonist between fiction and reality.” UVM, April 2017 (in Spanish).
  • FALL’16 - Mexican Writers in Diaspora: Estela Gonzalez, “Arribada. Short fiction and the Comcáac-Seri of Northern Mexico.” University of Vermont, October 2016 (in English)
Gund Affiliate Maria Woolson

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Environmental humanities, cultural studies and ecocriticism. Water and water governance. Biocultural diversity and sustainability. Latin America.


  • PhD, Spanish, The University of Arizona


  1. Personal Website