Bryan B Rasmussen

Bryan B Rasmussen, Ph.D.

Professor of English

Humanities 211

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Bryan B. Rasmussen is Professor of English and faculty in the Environmental Studies program. His principle areas of research and teaching are in environmental humanities and academic research writing.

His research explores environmental storytelling in ecologically critical places. Building on poet and ecocritic Camille Dungy’s notion of the “conflict zone,” Dr. Rasmussen defines ecologically critical places as places of high conservation value where human and nonhuman communities of life collide and become acutely vulnerable to one another. Ongoing, field-based research projects involve gathering stakeholder perspectives on ecologically critical places like Baja’s Sierra San Pedro Mártir National Park and California Condor sanctuary, the Santa Susana Field Lab and habitat linkage in the Simi Hills, and the Los Angeles River.
Dr. Rasmussen’s courses in environment take a strong environmental justice approach. Courses such as Environmental Literature, Literature of Climate Crisis, and Literature of California foreground the experiences and vulnerabilities of marginalized communities in a variety of environmental contexts, from wilderness, to cities, to the wildland-urban interface. His first-year English 111: Critical Reading and Writing course theme is “The Nature of the City.” (Click here to take a 111-student-led virtual tour of some of the issues facing communities along the Los Angeles River.)
As a teacher, Dr. Rasmussen prioritizes student achievement, learning, and experience through a lens of equity and inclusion. He is passionate about creating culturally inclusive curriculum that reflects the experiences and backgrounds of his students. A first-generation college student, Dr. Rasmussen came from a low-income household that left him feeling underprepared for college. With the help of CLU’s Title V initiatives like CHESS (Collaborative for Hispanics in Higher Education and Student Success) he is learning to use his personal experiences to help his students navigate and succeed in the sometimes unfamiliar world of academic research and writing. 
A native of Illinois, Dr. Rasmussen attended Harper Community College before transferring to the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he majored in English and Philosophy. He received a PhD from Indiana University in 2008, where he received a Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship in Religion and Ethics to complete his dissertation on what we would now call environmental justice struggles as expressed in the spiritual autobiographical writing of 19th-century women social activists engaged in factory, health, and prison reforms on behalf of the urban poor. His essays and reviews have appeared in ELH, Victorian Studies, Boom California, BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History. Recent conference presentations include the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, the American Society for Literature and Environment, and the North American Victorian Studies Association. Ongoing collaborations with faculty in the natural and social sciences include the Robert T. Moore Laboratory of Zoology’s Mexican Bird Resurvey Project, and, with Andrew W. Pattison of Colgate University, “Condors Over Cattle: Conservation, History, and Policy in Northern Baja.”
He is a certified California Naturalist and a Friend of the Los Angeles River. Find him on Instagram @oxbornbee.


Ph.D. Indiana University, Bloomington


Environmental humanities; literature and environment; climate change and literature; California literature; California natural history; history and philosophy of science; Charles Darwin; nineteenth-century British literary and cultural history




  • Darwin and Theories of Aesthetics and Cultural History. Ed. Barbara Larson and Sabine Flach. Surrey: Ashgate, 2013. Victorian Studies 57.3 (Spring 2015): 535-37.
  • Anne Isba, The Excellent Mrs. Fry: Unlikely Heroine. Continuum, 2010.  Victorian Studies  54.1 (Autumn 2011): 153-55.
  • Anna Maria Jones, Problem Novels: Victorian Fiction Theorizes the Sensational Self. The Ohio State University Press, 2007. Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 53 (Feb. 2009). URL:

Media + Public Scholarship:

Grant Funding

2019. Hewlett Research Grant, American Society for Literature and Environment conference, UC Davis, for a paper in the panel "Anthropocene Wilderness," $1000

2017. Hewlett Research Grant, Archival study and repeat photography of the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja, Mexico, $1000

2015. Hewlett Research Grant, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley, Lower California (Baja) archival expedition research, $500

2013. Faculty Research & Creative Works Grant, History of European science museums, $4000

2012. Community Leaders Association, "Small Creatures Sanctuary" apiary. $2025