Michaela Castellanos

Doktorand|Doctoral Student

  • Professional title: Doctoral Student
  • Department: Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSV)
  • Telephone: +46 (0)10-1428328
  • Email: michaela.castellanos@miun.se
  • Visitor address: Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall
  • Room number: D 218
  • Location: Sundsvall
  • Research centers: Forum för Genusvetenskap
  • Employee in the subject: English

PhD candidate, English literature

I am a researcher in training in the English subject at Mid-Sweden University, which comprises literary studies and linguistic studies.

While I am thus technically "in English literature," I consider myself an American studies scholar. My research focuses on representations of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). During my graduate studies, I have published my ideas on how whales figure in different media and at different points in history in American culture using the examples of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby-Dick (1855), the science fiction film Star Trek IV (1970), and the documentaries The Cove (2009) and Blackfish (2013).

In my dissertation, I narrow the focus to eight U.S. American films released between 2009 and 2015 and bring theories and methods from Cultural and Literary Animal Studies into Environmental Humanities practice. My aim is to develop a working theory of what I call mediated whale watching.

Sharing my research at international conferences and workshops is something I value as part of the research and writing process. I also enjoy creating opportunities for productive exchange and have co-organized an international conference and convened a postgraduate research forum.

My service to the profession includes working as an editor (2014-18) and peer reviewer.


Master's of Arts in Intercultural Anglophone Studies from the University of Bayreuth, Germany (2012, summa cum laude)

Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Linguistics from California State University Dominguez Hills, USA (2005, summa cum laude)

Area of interest

American Studies
Film Studies
Human-Animal Studies
Environmental Humanities


Ph.D. project "Mediated Whale Watching"

Teaching and tutoring

English A course, Writing and Speaking in English module
English A course, Literature module

Other information

Member of:

 - European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture, and Environment (EASLCE

- Postgraduate Forum Environment, Literature, Culture (ELC)

- Cultural and Literary Animal Studies Research Network (CLAS)


Peer reviews for:

- Environmental Humanities

- HoST, Journal of History of Science and Technology

- Tierstudien


Academic Activism:

- “Power Up - A Digital Tool for Improving Work Environments"

"Power Up" is an app for mobile devices which teaches users to recognize so-called Suppression Techniques. Suppression Techniques, according to Berit Ås, are strategic interactions between individuals and/or groups that create power differentials. Building on Ås' ideas, "Power Up" helps users identify and counteract seven specific suppression techniques.

The Power Up collective was awarded Mid-Sweden University's Equal Opportunity Prize in 2018.


Articles in journals

Castellanos, M. (2015). European Editor's Introduction. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, vol. 2: 2  

Articles, reviews/surveys

Castellanos, M. (2016). Breaking Down What Matters : Welcome to COMpostINGS. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, vol. 4: 1, pp. 60-62.  

Chapters in books

Castellanos, M. (2018). Bloodied Waters : Spectator Desire and Viewer Implication in The Cove (2009) and Blackfish (2013). In Underwater Worlds : Sumberged Visions in Science and Culture. Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 189-207.

Castellanos, M. (2018). "Constituents of a Chaos" : Whale Bodies and the Zoopoetics of Moby-Dick. In What is Zoopoetics? : Texts, Bodies, Entanglement. Cham : Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature). pp. 129-148.  

Castellanos, M. (2016). Star Trek IV and Environmental Risk : Balancing on Irony's Edge. In America After Nature : Democracy, Culture, Environment. Heidelberg : Universitätsverlag Winter (American Studies - A Monograph Series). pp. 391-404.