Peter Adkins

Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow

  • English Literature
  • School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Contact details



Room 3.04
21 Buccleuch Place

Post code

Post code


  • Office Hours for Semester 2: Thursday 2pm - 3pm (please email for an appointment)


Peter joined the department in 2021, having previously taught at the University of Kent. His research explores how how literature (especially modernist literature) can help us imagine, understand and rethink environmental history, planetary change and resource use. He's also interested in the relationship between humans and other animals, particularly the animals we raise for food.

His first book, The Modernist Anthropocene (2022), explores how modernist writing responded to environmental changes that were taking place on a planetary scale. His new edited collection, Virginia Woolf and the Anthropocene, will be published in 2024 and brings together essays from leading and emergent scholars. He is currently working on a research project that examines how British writers developed new narrative strategies to tell the story of oil, its ascendancy and its transformative effects, from the early 1900s to the present moment. His articles and reviews can be found in Textual Practice, Critical Comparative Studies, Humanities, Green Letters, Glasgow Review of Books, Review31 and elsewhere.

In 2022, Peter has launched the Digestive Modernisms research network with Dr Marie Allitt, which aims to bring together researchers interested in food, eating and digestion within modernist culture. 


PhD, English, University of Kent (2019)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

Kent Animal Humanities Network

British Association for Modernist Studies

International Virginia Woolf Society

Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain

Undergraduate teaching


Global Modernisms: Inter/National Responses to Modernity

Beastly Writing: Animals, Literature, Modernity

Literary Studies 1a

English Literature Undergraduate Dissertation

Postgraduate teaching


Modernist Aesthetics

Late Modernism and Beyond

Fairy Tales

English Literature Dissertation

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

  • Modernism
  • Ecocriticism
  • Anthropocene Studies
  • Energy Humanities
  • Animal Studies

I am particularly interested in the following writers:

  • Djuna Barnes
  • Virginia Woolf
  • James Joyce

View all 20 publications on Research Explorer

Invited speaker

Keynote respondent:  "Lawns, Books and Bombs",  Virginia Woolf and Ecology: The 32nd Annual International Virginia Woolf Conference, Florida Gulf State University, June 2023.

Guest talk: "Reading the Modernist Anthropocene", University of Tartu, 16 September 2022.



Beastly Modernisms, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, September 2019

Virginia Woolf, Europe and Peace: The 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woof, University of Kent, Canterbury, June 2018

Papers delivered

‘Crude Yet Refined: Finding the Oil in Woolf's Essays’, Virginia Woolf and Ecology: 32nd Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Florida Gulf Coast University

‘An English Highway Straight Into Hell: The Oil in British Modernism’, The Subterranean Anthropocene: The British Society for Literature and Science Winter Symposium 2022, Kings College London and University of Bristol, 12 November 2022

'Tracing Modernism's Vegetarian Influencers', Hopeful Modernisms: British Association for Modernist Studies International Conference 2022, University of Bristol, 23-25 June 2022.

'Reading Woolf in the Anthropocene' Virginia Woolf and Ethics: 31st Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Lamar University, Texas, 9-12 June 2022.

‘Siberian Mammoths, Rice Pudding and Iraqi Oil Fields: ‘The London Scene’ and the Capitalocene’ 30th Annual International conference on Virginia Woolf, University of South Dakota, 10-13 June 2021.

‘Consciousness and Materiality: Reading Joyce in the Noosphere’ British Society for Science and Literature Annual Conference 2020, University of Sheffield, 15-17 April 2020. 

‘Joyce, Molly and the Revenge of Gea-Tellus.’ British Association of Modernist Studies International Conference 2019, Kings College London, 20-22 June 2019.

‘Fourwalkers, Taildanglers, Headhangers: Labouring animals and animal labour in James Joyce’s Ulysses.’ Zurich James Joyce Centre Workshop 2018, Zurich James Joyce Center, 6-11 August 2018.

‘Writing the Anthropocene: Woolf, Braidotti and Posthumanist Feminism in the time of Climate Change’ at 28th Annual International conference on Virginia Woolf, University of Kent, 21-24 June 2018.

‘Modernist Anthropocene Aesthetics’ at Aesthetics in the Anthropocene, University of Sussex, 10-11 April 2018.

‘Unclean Beasts: Reading Djuna Barnes in the era of Anthropocene Studies’ at New Work in Modernist Studies 2017, University of Leeds, 15 December 2017.

‘Green, Queer, Entangled: The Use of “Nature” in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Vita Sackville-West’s The Land’ at 27th Annual International conference on Virginia Woolf, University of Reading, 29th June – 2nd July 2017.

‘The Eyes of Dead Animals: Nineteenth Century Meat Production in James Joyce’s Ulysses’ at Consuming Animals, University of York, 17-18th March 2017.

‘Nature’s Queer Tricks: Historicizing the Anthropocene with Virginia Woolf’ at MLA Convention 2017, Philadelphia, 5-8 January 2017.

‘The Ineluctable Thereness of the Anthropocene: Joyce, Modernism and Ecology’ at ASLE-UKI Postgraduate Conference 2016, University of Lincoln, 31st August – 2nd September 2016.

‘How Do Contemporary Posthuman Readings of Phenomenology Challenge Longstanding Ideas of a Recognisably “Human” Subject?’ at Cross-Disciplinary Phenomenology: A Readiness for the Questionable, University of Kent, 24th June 2016

‘Challenging Joyce: The Claim of the Nonhuman in Ulysses and Elizabeth Costello’ at XXV International James Joyce Symposium, University of London, 13-18 June 2016.