Speculative fiction and sci-fi; environmental humanities; C20/21 multi-ethnic American literatures; postcolonial and Indigenous literatures; science and technology studies; gender and sexuality studies.
Jessica Hurley joined the English department in 2019. Her research focuses on the American nuclear complex as an infrastructural phenomenon that has shaped the development of both material environments and literary archives in the United States and across the globe. She approaches the question of infrastructure from two directions, showing how narrative forms such as apocalypse have shaped the emergence of nuclear infrastructures while also analyzing how subaltern writers have used literary form to both represent and disrupt the devastating logics and practices of the nuclear complex. Her first book, Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in Fall 2020.
Jessica’s research has appeared or is forthcoming in symplokē, Comparative Literature Studies, Commonwealth Essays and Studies, ASAP/Journal, American Literature, Extrapolation, Frame, The Faulkner Journal, and the edited collection The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World. Her 2017 American Literature article “Impossible Futures: Fictions of Risk in the Longue Durée” was awarded the Don D. Walker Prize in Western Literature and received an honorable mention for the 1921 Prize in American Literature, and her 2012 article in The Faulkner Journal, "Ghostwritten: Kinship and History in Absalom, Absalom!," won the 2019 Jim Hinkle Memorial Prize. In 2018 she co-edited Apocalypse, a special issue of ASAP/Journal focusing on the power of apocalyptic forms to shape contemporary experience. She also pursues pedagogical research around issues of diversity and inclusion, and recently completed a study on Universal Access for disabled students in humanities classes funded by the Chicago Center for Teaching.
A second book project, “Nuclear Decolonizations,” analyzing the relationship between nuclearization, decolonization, and literary form since 1945, and a project considering the relationship between infrastructural violence and the speculative turn in contemporary multi-ethnic and Indigenous literatures.
Impossible Futures: Fictions of Risk in the Longue Durée. American Literature 89:4 (2017).
Complicity, for the Time Being: Nuclear Entanglements from Atoms for Peace to Fukushima. Comparative Literature Studies 56:4 (Fall 2019).
Apocalypse. Special issue of ASAP/Journal 3:3 (2018), coedited with Dan Sinykin.
An Apocalypse is a Relative Thing: An Interview with N.K. Jemisin. ASAP/Journal 3:3 (2018)
The Nuclear Uncanny in Oceania. Commonwealth Essays and Studies 41:1 (2018)
History is What Bites: Zombies, Race, and the Limits of Biopower in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One. Extrapolation 56:3 (2015).
Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex (University of Minnesota Press, 2020).
Peer Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters
“Complicity, for the Time Being: Nuclear Entanglements from Atoms for Peace to Fukushima.” Complicity, special issue of Comparative Literature Studies (Fall 2019).
“The Nuclear Uncanny in Oceania.” Unsettling Oceania, special issue of Commonwealth Essays and Studies 41.1 (Autumn 2018).
“Impossible Futures: Fictions of Risk in the Longue Durée.” American Literature 89:4 (December 2017). Winner of the Don D. Walker Prize in Western Literature; honorable mention for the 1921 Prize in American Literature.
“History is What Bites: Race, Zombies, and the Limits of Biopower in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One.” Extrapolation 56:3 (December 2015).
“Still Writing Backwards: Literature After the End of the World.” Apocalypse in Contemporary Culture. Special Issue, Frame Journal of Literary Studies 26.1 (May 2013).
“War as Peace: Afterlives of Nuclear War in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.” The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World,eds. Michael Blouin, Morgan Shipley, Jack Taylor (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).
“Ghostwritten: Kinship and History in Absalom, Absalom!” The Faulkner Journal 26.2 (Fall 2012). Winner of the Jim Hinkle Memorial Prize.
Apocalypse. With Dan Sinykin. Special issue of ASAP/Journal 3.3 (September 2018).
Editorial Introductions, Review Essays, Reviews, Interviews
“Introduction: Apocalypse.” With Dan Sinykin. Apocalypse. Special issue of ASAP/Journal 3.3 (September 2018).
“An Apocalypse is a Relative Thing: An Interview with N.K. Jemisin.” Apocalypse. Special issue of ASAP/Journal 3.3 (September 2018).
“Aesthetics and the Infrastructural Turn in the Digital Humanities.” Review essay, American Literature 88:3 (September 2016).
Entries for Gilead, The Children’s Book, and American Rustin 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, ed. Peter Boxall (New York, NY: Universe Pub., 2010).
ENGH 451: Science Fiction
ENGH 308 Theory and Inquiry: Toxic Humanities
ENGH 202 Texts and Contexts: Science Fiction and Social Justice