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English Department


Dr. Adrian Rainbow has been working as a lecturer at the University of Zürich since February 2009. He teaches BA and MA lectures and seminars in the English Department’s Language Skills and Culture, and Literature programmes.

Apart from lecturing, he began his Habilitation project (PostDoc Research) in January 2011 titled “Ecoliteracy, Enchantment, and Consilience: The raw materials for a new kind of nature literature”. Drawing on an interdisciplinary methodology, he focusses on ecopedagogy, ecoliteracy, and the role of literary texts and cultural sites in the field of practical ecocriticism. Expanding on the theories of consilience by critics such as Edward O. Wilson, Jane Bennett, and Edward Slingerland, as well as others (Buell 1996, 2005; Critchley 2001; Curtis 1994; Gersdorf 2006; Gould 2003; Lodge 2002; Plumwood 2001; Slovic 2002), he argues that the author/artist as an ecopedagogue and “nature endorser” (Love) has been understated, and undervalued in ecocritical discourse, especially in terms of their potential role in the synthesis between science and the humanities. He argues that this role is multifaceted but ultimately it functions to facilitate the Freirean notions of conscientization and praxis: to instill knowledge, transform consciousness, and create dialogue in order to challenge the normalized ideological and ontological conceptions of “the natural order of things”. Ultimately, he argues that the integration of aesthetic texts, “narratives of enchantment” (Bennett), which represent didactic tools based on values, morality, emotion, ethics, metaphor, metonymy, and politics, with the objectified, impersonal world of scientific fact, leads to an optimal aesthetic methodology to comprehend nature, and understand humanity’s current antagonistic relationship with it. This amalgamation then represents “a new kind of nature literature” (Huxley) which ultimately leads to scientific and ecological literacy, to biocentrism, and a new paradigm of holistic thinking and interconnectedness with the ecosystem.

He holds a BA (double major - English Literature and Philosophy) from the University of British Columbia, an MA (English - Critical Theory) and a PhD (English) from the University of Exeter. His PhD dissertation, “The Poetics of Emancipation: Critical Pedagogy, Radical Aesthetics and Contemporary Fiction”, analyses the political and pedagogical function of literature in anti-consumerist discourses.

In addition to ecocriticism, environmental justice, ecoliteracy, and ecopedagogy, his other research interests focus gender studies, Marxist literary theory, postmodernism, and the discourses of violence and trauma.

Outside of the university, Adrian is interested in hiking, reading, football, and cooking.