Peter Adkins

Peter Adkins

A researcher and writer exploring how literature helps us imagine, understand and rethink environmental history, planetary change, resource use, and relationships between humans and other animals.

I am a researcher and writer based in Edinburgh. My work explores how literature can help us imagine, understand and rethink environmental history, planetary change and resource use. I’m also interested in the relationship between humans and other animals, especially animals we raise for food.

I am currently an Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where I teach modern and contemporary literature. My first monograph, The Modernist Anthropocene, was published in 2022.

My current research project 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. Entitled 'Narrating Oil', the project brings to light how writers were drawn to specific prose forms and genres (travelogues, novels, dramas and memoirs) at crucial moments in the history of oil, drawing on reinvention and innovation as a means to interrogate its ecological, social and political consequences. In doing so, the project demonstrates the importance of narrative and storytelling in the context of fossil fuels, extractivism and energy security, both historically and in our present moment of energy transition. You can find out more about that project here.

I also work as a freelance writer and reviewer.