feature image Photo Credit: from Max Ernst, illustration for 'Une Semaine de Bonté'
Phillip R. Polefrone bio photo

Phillip R. Polefrone

PhD candidate at Columbia University's Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Twitter Github

Phillip R. Polefrone is a PhD Candidate in Columbia University’s Department of English and Comparative Literature. His work focuses on twentieth-century American fiction from an environmental humanities perspective, with particular focuses on American Literary Naturalism and speculative fiction. His dissertation, “Literary Naturalism and the Anthropocene,” considers the philosophical, historical, and scientific resonances between American Literary Naturalism and the deep history of the Anthropocene as a concept. Covering authors such as Frank Norris, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Jack London, this dissertation discusses the central problems of ecocriticism in the Anthropocene as they appear in naturalist fiction: among them the “species” concept as it relates to human history, the place of human guidance in natural systems, and the role of capitalism (especially finance) in determining the scale and character of humanity’s influence on the planet. Using these issues as the basis for a reading of naturalist novels expands the range of texts that are read as “Anthropocene fiction,” but it also presents a new reading of an important moment in American literary history, recasting many of the well known features of the naturalist genre in terms set by an urgent contemporary discourse.

In addition to his work in the environmental humanities, Phillip’s work in the digital humanities uses natural language processing in Python to develop and employ distant reading methods. Most recently, he has been focused on improving automated location extraction and geolocation, which makes it possible to bring data extracted from literature into closer contact with environmental datasets revolving around emissions, climate change, and environmental justice.

This site hosts my published writing, documents related to academic and educational talks, DH projects. See below for updates and information about works in progress. My CV can be found on the “CV” tag above, and projects are hosted on the “Projects” tab and represented among the posts.

Recent Posts

Semantic Analysis of One Million #GamerGate Tweets Using Semantic Category Correlations

Full Paper (with Results) PDFAbstract This paper develops a methodology for describing the contents ofa controversy...

Introduction to Technical Writing

Cooper Union, STEM, 2016

Location Extraction and Georeferencing with Python and QGIS

Semi-Automatic Location Referencing for Literary Study

Hate Speech and Online Activism

Semantic, historical, and legal analysis of online hate speech

The Space of Things: Global Circulation, Materiality, and Environment in *Through the Arc of the Rain Forest*

An essay on globalization, commodity logic, and environmental crisis Karen Tei Yamashita's *Through the Arc of the Rainforest*