Michaela Castellanos

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PhD candidate in English


M.A. in Intercultural Anglophone Studies (University of Bayreuth, Germany, 2012)
B.A. in English Literature and Linguistics (California State University Dominguez Hills, USA, 2005)

Area of interest

Animal Studies, Environmental Humanities, Narratology, Film Studies

Current research

PhD thesis on American film

I am an American studies scholar, and my project brings methods from Cultural and Literary Animal Studies into the Environmental Humanities. Specifically, I am interested in representations of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) in American culture. I have published my ideas on how whales figure in different media and at different points in history, e.g. in the novel Moby-Dick (1855), the film Star Trek IV (1970), and the documentaries The Cove (2009) and Blackfish (2013) in three chapters in edited volumes. In my dissertation, I narrow the focus to the risk rhetoric of U.S. American cetacean films between 2009-2015.

Teaching and tutoring

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

Other information

Member of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture, and the Environment (EASLCE), its affiliated postgraduate forum Environment, Literature, Culture (ELC), and the research network Literary and Cultural Animal Studies (CLAS)


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.