Michael Gaffney

Michael Gaffney

Student

Michael Gaffney is a PhD candidate in the Program in Literature at Duke University. His teaching and research focus on the environmental humanities, literary theory, and contemporary American literature and science fiction. 

His dissertation, “Our Ice Age: The Geohistorical Imagination in the Northern Hemisphere,” investigates scientific and literary narratives of the Earth’s last ice age in order to reflect on the significance of deep history for the study of climate change. Tracing the development of the ice age imaginary from nineteenth century geology and twentieth century literature through contemporary Arctic nonfiction and ecological theory, his research contends that our modern understanding of climate change emerged in ice-age representations and remains grounded in their conception of planetary history. His essay, “The Ice Age and Us: Imagining Geohistory in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Shaman,” appears in a special issue of Science Fiction Studies on the climate crisis (November 2018) and previews some of this work.  

In addition to his dissertation project, Michael is co-editing a special issue of Polygraph on Marxism’s contributions to the study of climate change. His website can be found here.

Gaffney, M. “Review of 'Absolute Recoil' by Slavoj Žižek.” Polygraph: An International Journal of Culture and Politics, vol. 25, 29 Nov. 2016, pp. 181–88. Open Access Copy

Gaffney, M. “Review of 'The Intimacies of Four Continents' by Lisa Lowe.” Journal of American Studies, vol. 50, no. 4, 14 Oct. 2016, pp. E71–E71.

Gaffney, M. “The Ice Age and Us: Imagining Geohistory in Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, SF-TH, Nov. 2018, pp. 469–83. Manual, doi:10.5621/sciefictstud.45.3.0469. Full Text