Allison Carruth is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the English Department, Institute for Society and Genetics, and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Prior to UCLA, she served as Associate Director of Science, Technology and Society at Stanford. She is currently working on a collaborative public art and environmental outreach project called Play the LA River.
Her research, writing and teaching focus on contemporary U.S. literature and new media, the interplay of food cultures and environmental movements, art-science collaboration, urban and digital ecologies and social practice. She also has a longstanding interest in avant-garde writing and experimental art practices. Her first book is entitled Global Appetites: American Power and the Literature of Food (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her current book project is tentatively titled “Artful Ecologies, Technical Times: Environmentalism in the Age of Digital Clouds, Corporate Persons & Geoengineers.” The project examines the artistic, sociocultural and scientific practices of environmental movements that have taken shape in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries (particularly in North American urban contexts)—from food justice and seed saving to citizen climate science. It makes the case that modes of virtuosic amateurism and everyday science run through these movements as alternatives to the hyper-specialization and terraforming of the era termed the Anthropocene. It thus aims to understand the recent histories and possible horizons of environmentalism by working with, on the one hand, print culture, new media, social practice and art-science collaboration, and, on the other, activist communities and tactics.
In addition to this monograph, Carruth is co-authoring the book “Literature and Food Studies” with Amy L. Tigner, and working on two longer-term projects: one exploring avant-garde aesthetics and food politics in twentieth- and twenty-first century American culture and another comparing the utopian narratives versus environmental implications of cyberculture.
Recent publications include essays in Modern Drama, Modern Fiction Studies, Modernism/Modernity, Parallax, Public Culture and Public Books and in book collections from Oxford UP and Routledge. She has organized several major conferences and symposia, including, in 2011 a national conference entitled Food Justice with the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.