Stacey Balkan

Stacey Balkan is an associate professor of Environmental Literature and Humanities. She also serves as an affiliate faculty member for the university’s Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Initiative. Her teaching and research focus on Environmental Literature(s), Environmental/Energy Justice, Global South and Postcolonial Studies, Petrocultures & Petromodernity, and Ecocriticism. Recent work centering on environmental justice, and the material stakes of uneven development and petroculture, appears in Revue Études Anglaises , The Global South , ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment , and Public Books .

Dr. Balkan’s new monograph, Rogues in the Postcolony: Narrating Extraction and Itinerancy in India (2022) is the inaugural title in the Histories of Capitalism and the Environment Series for West Virginia University Press. Rogues in the Postcolony is a study of Anglophone Indian picaresque novels that dramatize the impacts of extractive capitalism and colonial occupation on local communities in several Indian states. A materialist history of development on the subcontinent, the project considers works by Amitav Ghosh, Indra Sinha, and Aravind Adiga, each of which critiques violent campaigns of enclosure and dispossession at the hands of England’s premier trading company and its corporate legatees. In foregrounding the intersection(s) between landscape ideology, agricultural improvement, extractive capitalism, and aesthetic expression, Rogues also attends to the complicity of popular aesthetic forms with political and economic policy; so too, the colonial and extractivist logics that often frame discussions around the so-called Anthropocene epoch—those which tend to ignore the uneven histories of industrial development across the Global South. Bringing together extant discussions around settler-colonial practices in India with broader questions around settler ideology and environmental injustice, Rogues concludes with an investigation of new extractivist frontiers, including solar capitalism, and the possibility of imagining life after extraction on the subcontinent and beyond.

Dr. Balkan is also the co-editor of Oil Fictions: World Literature and our Contemporary Petrosphere , published in 2021 as part of the AnthropoScene Series for Penn State University Press. A collection of essays dedicated to petrocultural expression, Oil Fictions presents an attempt to grapple with the pervasiveness of this often-invisible biocultural agent through the cultivation of a robust petro-aesthetic practice.

In a recent interview for the Association for Literature and Environment (ASLE) Dr. Balkan discusses her recent work as well as her interests within the burgeoning field of Energy Humanities.

For recent research projects and current syllabi see: