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Columbia University, New York, NY

Ph.D. Candidate, English Literature, 2013-

M.Phil., English and Comparative Literature, 2016

M.A., English and Comparative Literature, 2014

Certificate, Columbia Publishing Course, School of Journalism, 2012

New York University, New York, NY

B.A., magna cum laude, English and American Literature, 2012

Articles and Chapters

Published and Forthcoming

“Ecology Without Us: Ecological Succession and History in Earth Abides.” (Accepted: forthcoming from Extrapolation.)

“Critical Computing in the Humanities,” with Dennis Tenen and John Simpson. Doing Digital Humanities. London: Routledge, 2016. Print. (link)

Under Review

“Gilman’s Garden: Herland‘s Economics of a ’Good’ Anthropocene.” (Under review: submitted to ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.)

Reviews and Public Criticism

“Rewriting Finance’s Fiction.” Politics Slash Letters Quarterly. 28 May 2018. (link)

“The Importance of the ‘Steady State’.” Politics Slash Letters Live. 1 Dec. 2017. (link)

“Rising Tides, Rising Profits.” Public Books. 27 June 2017. (link)

“Regreening Technology: Gestures Beyond Prometheanism in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy.” Politics Slash Letters Quarterly. 27 June 2016. (link)

Grants and Awards


Teaching Scholars Fellowship for course “Speculative Fiction and the Environment in 20th-Century America”

Departmental Travel Award to attend 29th Annual American Literature Association Conference


Departmental Archival Research Travel Award for research on the Jack London Papers at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA


Digital Centers Internship, award to develop “Semi-Automated Literary Mapping” platform


SIPA and Carnegie Corporation of New York Grant for Doctoral Student Research on Internet Policy for “Semantic Analysis of One Million #GamerGate Tweets: Fighting Hatespeech with Natural Language Processing”


Robert John Bennett Memorial Award for best Masters Essay on a comparative or interdisciplinary topic

Conference Papers, Lectures, and Presentations

August 2018

Herland (1915), Earth Abides (1949), New York 2140 (2017): Literature, Architecture, and Ecology,” The Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, New York.

May 2018

“Ecological and Historical Succession in Earth Abides,” American Literature Association Conference 2018, San Francisco. Part of the “Future Earths” panel hosted by ASLE.

March 2018

“Wasteland as Countercultural Space in John McPhee’s The Pine Barrens” Columbia University, New York. Guest lecture in “Literature of the 1960s.

May 2017

“Gilman’s Garden: Herland and the Anthropocene,” American Literature Association Conference 2017, Boston.

April 2017

“Location Extraction and Georeferencing with Python and QGIS,” Columbia Uniersity, part of The Art of Data Visualization workshop series.

February 2017

“Semi-Automated Literary Mapping,” Columbia University, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures PhD Program.


Fall 2018

“Speculative Fiction and the Environment in 20th-Century America,” Columbia University (instructor of record)

A seminar tracing the history of ideas in ecology and environmentalism across the 20th century alongside the works of speculative fiction that adopted, adapted, and challenged them. Readings range from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland to Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven to Octavia Butler’s Dawn, and from primary scientific documents like Frederic Clements’s Plant Succession to Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble.

Spring 2018 - Present

Architecture Writing Fellow, The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union

A series of workshops and individual tutoring sessions to improve written and verbal communication across the Architecture School, from the first-year studio to the Masters program.

Spring 2016 - Present

Writing Associate, Cooper Union Writing Center

Writing Associates are paired with ongoing students for weekly writing sessions, teaching academic writing and research while mentoring a diverse range of students.

Fall 2015 - Spring 2017

University Writing: Readings in Sustainable Development, Columbia, University Writing Program (instructor of record)

A first-year composition course with a theme in “sustainable development,” broadly conceived; students read work from Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic” to Jamaica Kincaid’s “To Name is to Possess” to William Cronon’s “The Trouble with Wilderness,” writing analytic essays and researched reviews in response.

Spring 2015

Teaching Assistant, Computing in Context, Columbia, Computer Science and English

An introduction to digital humanities and programming in Python, conducted in two weekly sections that taught the basics of Python programming through exercises in computational literary analysis and stylistics.

Fall 2014

Teaching Assistant, History of English, Columbia, English and Comparative Literature

A survey in the history of the English language; graded exams, prepared lecture materials, and hosted review sessions.

2009 - 2012

Undergraduate Writing Tutor, NYU Expository Writing Program

Summer 2010

Writing Instructor, NYU Opportunities Program (BEST)

Digital Projects

Framework for Semi-Automated Literary Mapping, 2016-2017. Columbia University Digital Centers Intern Program.

LitCity, January 2016. CODEX Hackathon at MIT.(link).

RogetTools, Summer 2014. Columbia University.

Sortes Vergilianae/Pynchonianae Twitter Bot, 2015.

Group for the Experimental Methods in the Humanities (Website). Columbia University.

University Service and Affiliations

2016 - 2018

Co-Organizer, 20/21 American Literature Colloquium, Columbia University

Managed schedule, communications, and announcements for a colloquium attended by faculty and graduate students; events ranged from workshops to invited speakers.

2014 - 2016

Representative, Graduate Student Council, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Acted as a representative for the graduate student body of the English department, hosting social events, visits for accepted students, and advocating for student programs such as departmental travel funding to attend archives.

2014 -

Core Team Member, Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities

Helped develop the ethos, practices, and website for an interdisciplinary consortium of digital humanists.

Languages and Skills


Spanish (reading)

Latin (rudimentary reading)

Programming Languages and Technical Proficiencies

Python (programming language; proficiency)

HTML/CSS (markup languages; proficiency)

Javascript/D3 (rudimentary)

QGIS and ArcGIS Mapping Programs

Current as of
. Also available as a PDF.


Phillip R. Polefrone

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