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.