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

Maria Woolson's background combines formal education in the natural sciences and the humanities. Trained in biology, she worked in the environmental field for several years, before changing paths and focusing on the environmental humanities. Her teaching and research are interdisciplinary and framed under sustainability as a generative paradigm. Specific interests include water culture and governance, ethnicity and identity, sustainable community practices, all viewed through the lens of cultural studies.  In her work, she has traced the evolution of environmental actions in Latin America over time, which required the integration of various methodological tools and theoretical frameworks. She approaches teaching as a journey of constant inquiry and views interdisciplinarity as an opportunity to re-enable the connections that have been often fractioned in scholarly models.

“In my work I endeavor to bring together the worldviews of science and humanities through teaching, technology, transdisciplinary research and mentoring. The context for my work is sustainability and human natures, in the multicultural landscape of Latin America. I draw from diverse fields including literature and plastic arts; geography and discourse analysis; political ecology and biocultural diversity, to enable students to see the connections and interactions of social and cultural life within their environments and those of others.”

Woolson is a Co-Chair of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Environmental Section.


Scholarly Books and Monographs

  • (Forthcoming Volume) A Sustainable Future for Latin America? Special issue of A Contracorriente, Edited by Maria A. Woolson, spring-summer 2019. Web
  •  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

  • 2017. “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.
  • (Accepted) “The Gift of a Different Gaze: A Social-Environmental Imagination of Collective Meaning in Helen Escobedo’s Open-Space Installations, 1997-2010.” Natura Loquens/Natura Agens. Carmen Flys & Juan Ignacio Oliva, Eds.

Journal Articles

Book Reviews and Translations

  • 2011 Security, Risk and the Biometric State. Governing Borders and Bodies, by Benjamin  Muller. The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 15: 208-209.

Conference proceedings

  • 2015 “Silenced Voices, Forgotten Wisdom. Discourse and Limitations of Cultural Representation in the Era of Globalization. LASA Southern Cone.

Scholars and artists I invited to UVM campus

  •  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)
  • 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’17 - Environmental Humanities Scholar John Elder, “Stay together, /learn the flowers, /go light": Reflections on Community and Sustainability.” University of Vermont, October 18th, 2017
  • SPR’18 – Literature and technology intersection. Hispanic Studies Scholar: Scott Weintraub “Latin American Techno-poetics: Scientific Explorations in New Media.” UVM, March 2018.
  • SPR’18 – Internationally renowned sculptor, Vivianne Duchini, “Sculpting Nature: Challenges and Opportunities of Animal Art in the Latin American Imaginary.” UVM, April 2018

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