Lena Christensen

PhD in American Literature




In my research project Ecocriticism, Literary Places and Sustainability (funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2010-2013), I have conducted research in the interstices between literary criticism, sustainability studies and what is now manifesting itself as the environmental humanities. During this time, my research interests have become increasingly interdisciplinary. However, my primary area of interest is questions of representation of climate change and biodiversity loss. I also do work on environmental discourses and most recently I have become interested in the formation of the Anthropocene.

On a national level I am affiliated with NIES, the Nordic Network for Environmental Studies and I have been an invited speaker at Mälardalen University College (February 2012) and KTH (forthcoming, December 2013).

At LUCSUS and in coordination with LUCID I have organized one doctoral course called “Being Human in Times of Climate Change” that gathered lecturers and students from all over Europe (January 2012) as well as an international workshop on “Literary Criticism and Climate Change” (January, 2012). At the moment I am planning another LUCID doctoral course called “Situating the Environmental Humanities” that will run in December 2013.

“Being Human in times of Climate Change” was noted in Lund University’ magazine LUM:

I have been active in the LUCID research school’s activities, for example as invited speaker. See the LUCID working paper “Cultural ecosystem services” co-written with Torsten Krause and Martin Sykes:

Current research

“Narrating Environmental Change”: in this project I consider how environmental problems, environmental beliefs, and environmental concerns are constructed and represented in texts as narratives. In order to better understand these concerns and to solve these problems, we thus need to analyze how texts work. To this end, my research considers both non-fictional and fictional texts that explicitly represent socio-environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and land-use change. I do this by analyzing how literary and non-literary texts representing environmental challenges contribute to the construction of both societal and individual identity. The concepts connecting the sub-projects are thus narrative and identity.

“Water Diaries”: together with Karin Steen, postdoc in Sustainability Science, I am planning research on teenagers’ views of, feelings about and thoughts about climate change. We will use a combination of reader response theory, drawing on literary studies; field research methods developed in the social sciences; linking these traditions to the emerging field of sustainability science.

My book Editing Emily Dickinson: The Production of an Author was recently reissued in paperback:

Public talks and media:

In May, 2013, I was an invited speaker at the Friends of the Dalby Library Evening Seminar on the topic of Literature and Sustainability. In August, 2013 I participated in a Workshop on Urban Resilience organized by and for Lund Municipality where I spoke on the topic of Literature, young people and the notion of climate anxiety. I have also been interviewed by Swedish Radio One’s Science Program on the topic of the Humanities and Climate Change (May 2013): http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/198496?programid=1302

Professional Development:

I participated in Lund University’s Program for Younger Researchers luPOD in 2012/2013


At LUCSUS, I have supervised four masters’ theses and I have contributed to several courses in the LUMES masters’ program, including Sustainability Science, Social Theory and Environmental Problem Awareness. My ambition has been to introduce topics informed by humanities scholarship in this interdisciplinary program.

Prior to joining LUCUS, I was a lecturer at Malmö University (2007-2009), Linnaeus University, Växjö (2007-2009), and Dawson College, Montreal (2006).


Christensen, Lena. “Reading Climate Change through the Arctic.” In Environmental Humanities, eds. Steven Hartman, Anna Storm and Sverker Sörlin. London: Routledge. Forthcoming winter 2013/2014.

Christensen, Lena (2008, 2013) Editing Emily Dickinson. The Production of an Author. New York: Routledge

Christensen, Lena (2005) Emily Dickinson. A Study of the Production of an Author. Diss., Lunds Universitet

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