Research Track


Margret Grebowicz



Margret Grebowicz is the author of Mountains and Desire: Climbing vs. The End of the World, Whale Song, The National Park to Come, Why Internet Porn Matters, and Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway, as well as numerous articles on environmental imagination, gender and sexuality, wilderness, animal studies, and post ‘68 French philosophy. Her recent essays have appeared in Philosophical Salon and The Atlantic, and her forthcoming work includes the co-edited collection Lyotard and Critical Practice. In addition to being tenured twice during her almost twenty years of university teaching, Margret has also worked as a literary translator, a jazz vocalist, and a dance instructor.


Margret is a native Pole from Łódź. She has held professorships at University of Houston-Downtown, Goucher College in Baltimore, and the School of Advanced Studies at University of Tyumen in Russia, and is currently associate professor at the University of Silesia in Poland. She has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship in Poland and a Leverhulme Trust fellowship in the UK. Her academic passions center on international education, interdisciplinary research, and public-facing presentation of scholarship. Her personal passions include the American West, Eastern Europe, and foraging for mushrooms with her dogs.



My research is about wilderness and environmental imagination, specifically the relationship between environmental and social loss. Longing, nostalgia, desire–how do these help shape the production of wilderness in conditions where humans understand it to be gone forever? By “wilderness” I mean wild spaces, wild animals, and those aspects of domesticated life, both animal and human, that we imagine to be wild, such as inner life, sexuality, appetite, and even childhood.


I usually focus on the big, emotionally powerful, even “classic” markers of environmental experience, the money shots (as it were): charismatic megafauna, national park landscapes, ecotourism rhetorics, and extreme sports set in (and against) recalcitrant places and climates. The more spectacularized wilderness is, the murkier it becomes. Like every fantasy, wilderness gets used up and “perverted” – animal hoarding, the degradation of Everest, paleo diets for dogs, wingsuit BASE jumpers dying before the eyes of their fans on their youtube channels— and it is these moments I try to map and understand, to ground, in the many senses of that word. They are no less environmental than the well-meaning origins of wilderness, or than humans’ subsequent efforts to make things “right” again. And they have their own ecologies–both material and affective.

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While at ASU, I will be researching the curation of Southwestern wilderness– in the Chihuahuan Desert in Texas, as well as the Phoenix area and the wider context of the Colorado Plateau, which the Park Service calls “one of the world’s premier natural showcases.”


Around the loose and mobile theme “Making Wilderness,” I will conduct research in several regions administered by the National Park Service in order to map the complexities of curated–and variously bordered–wilderness spaces. My long-term goal is to create opportunities for students and scholars in the humanities to someday learn from and help shape parks policy. But better policy begins with better thinking, and I hope to foster a more comprehensive understanding of institutions with fraught histories, like the NPS and the National Wilderness Preservation System. In this respect, my residency work is an extension of my 2015 book, The National Park to Come, as well as my 2021 book, Mountains and Desire: Climbing vs. The End of the World.


Furthermore, I am a fan of and a specialist in the short book, and am currently writing one about dog owner culture and imaginaries of human social life. The provisional title is Rescue Me: Imagining the Social Inside Canine Practices. In this respect, my residency is a continuation of the work I have done in animal studies, on animals, intimacy, and social imaginaries, especially in my 2017 book Whale Song, my ongoing research project in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and my new work on dogs.


Finally, I will also design and teach two experimental, remote courses for my students at the University of Silesia, Poland, centered on themes of wilderness culture, recreation culture, the national park service, and transborder conservation. In order for existing conservation practices to better serve a global, multispecies, technological reality rather than the one in which they were originally created decades ago, they must be helped to evolve. This requires new pedagogies that inspire transregional, transnational, dynamic thinking.


This, then, is an experiment in situatedness: place, longing, movement, fantasy, distance, and connection.



SLSAEu keynote address, June 2020


As a member of the Center for Critical Technology Studies at the University of Silesia, I will be part of the team realizing the NesT Grant (Networking Ecologically Smart Territories).


“The Worst Part of Teaching Online Is What We Are Teaching”