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Desiree Hellegers' Research

Dr. Desiree Hellegers

Associate Professor
Department of English
Affiliated Faculty, Collective for Social and Environmental Justice
Phone: (360) 546-9643
Fax: (360) 546-9036
Office: VMMC 202V
Office Hours:

Tuesdays and Thursdays
12:00 to 12:30 pm and by appointment
Support Staff:
Jen Barnes

I’ve been teaching at WSU Vancouver since 1993 and was a founding co-director of the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice. My primary research interests lie in environmental/climate justice activism, materialist ecocriticism (contemporary American literature, and 17th century British), houselessness, poverty and inequality, disability justice oral history, and social movements. These research interests also inform radio segments I produce as a member of the Old Mole Variety Hour collective on Portland’s community supported radio station KBOO (90.7 fm), and related journalism.  I’m particularly interested in documenting unfolding struggles in the Pacific Northwest, and in the spoken word poetry of ordinary people struggling to bring sanity and humanity to a world in crisis. In both teaching and research, I’m increasingly interested in engaging the threats posed by climate change. Finally, I’m increasingly interested also in documentary theater—in adapting oral histories for the stage—and in publishing poems. Links to select radio segments, lectures, and articles can be found below.

Recent Publications


“Of Scrooges, and Sweeps: Body Snatching and Death on the Street: A Christmas Carol in Portlandia,” Counterpunch, January 1, 2020.

(co-authored with Pavithra Narayanan), “Toxic Imperialism: Memory, Erasure, and Environmental Injustice in David Chariandy’s Soucouyant.” ariel: A Review of International English Literature 50.2 (2019): 81-104.

“Unnatural Causes: Health Takes a Hit in Portland Oregon,” Counterpunch, October 19, 2017.

‘Energy without Injury: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street,” Counterpunch, May 23, 2016.

“From Poisson Road to Poison Road: Mapping the Toxic Trail of Windigo Capital in Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms.” Studies in American Indian Literatures 27.2 (2015): 1-28.

Trade Wars: Monsanto’s Return to Viet Nam,” Counterpunch, May 8, 2015.


No Room of Her Own: Women’s Stories of Homelessness, Life, Death and Resistance,” staged reading, Fertile Ground Festival, Portland, Oregon, Jan. 23 and 24, 2015.


No Room of Her Own: Women’s Stories Natural Philosophy, Poetry and of Homelessness,
Life, Death and Resistance (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).






Handmaid to Divinity: Natural Philosophy
Poetry and Gender in Seventeenth
Century England (Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2000).







Digital Archive

The Thin Green Line is People: An Archival History of Pacific Northwest Fossil Fuel Resistance

  • B.A. English, Georgetown University
  • Ph.D. University of Washington
Recent Awards/Recognition
  • Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan, Distinguished Associate Professorship, 2019-20
  • Semi-finalist, New Guard Review, Knightville Poetry Contest, 2018.
  • Finalist, New Millenium Writings, Literary Award (Poetry), 2017
  • Long-listed, Poetry Society, National Poetry Competition (England), 2015
Podcasts of Select KBOO Radio Segments
  • Part 2, interview with Seattle singer-songwriter, Jim Page. (aired 2/12/18).