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Brett Buchanan

Brett Buchanan

Full Professor | Director

Emeritus Professor
School of the Environment
F-322A, Science Building Sudbury Campus


I have been teaching at Laurentian since 2006, where I am Full Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies. From 2014 to 2020 I was the Director of the School of the Environment (a unit that includes Archaeology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Études de l'environnement, and Science Communication), and I have previously been Chair of the Department of Philosophy (2009, 2010, 2013-2015). I am also affiliated with Laurentian's Humanities M.A. and the Human Studies Ph.D., graduate programs through which I supervise students. 

My teaching and research centers on the intersections of the environmental humanities, contemporary continental philosophy, and animal studies. In 2015 I was a Visiting Fellow at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, where I was able to continue on-going research projects with colleagues in philosophical ethology, and during a six-month sabbatical in 2017 I was a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the École normale supérieure in Paris. During spring 2021 I am excited to be an Environmental Humanities Visiting Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh (alas, due to COVID19, this will likely be virtual).

Professionally, I sit on a number of scholarly boards and committees, including Wilfrid Laurier University Press's Environmental Humanities book series, Environmental Humanities journal, and a forthcoming book series, Animalities, with Edinburgh University Press. In 2018 I was the President of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC) (and Past-President, 2019), and I have previously served as Secretary and V-P of The Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture (EPTC). In addition to the above activities I have also led and co-organized several colloquiums/workshops, including Thinking Extinction (Sudbury, 2013) and Field Philosophy (Paris, 2017).

In June 2019 I hiked the Daisetzusan mountain range in Hokkaido, Japan, with the Outdoor Adventure Leadership 3rd year students, and engaged in place-based environmental research in outdoor education and philosophy.

Within the community, I serve as a board member with Cinefest Sudbury and with Laurentian Nordic Ski Club (with whom I also instruct), and have previously served on the boards of reThink Green (2015-2018) and the Laurentian Child and Family Centre (2009-2014), as well as coach some of my kids's sports teams.

I run, bike, hike, and xc ski whenever possible (including to campus!).


Academic Appointments

2018 - present: Full Professor, Laurentian University

2021: Environmental Humanities Visiting Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh (Scotland)

2014- 2020: Director, School of the Environment, Laurentian University

2017: Visiting Researcher, Department of Philosophy, École Normale Supérieure (Paris, France)

2013 - present: Adjunct professor, York University

2007 - present: Core faculty member, Humanities MA, Laurentian University

2007 - present: Associate faculty member, Human Studies PhD, Laurentian University

2011 - 2018: Associate professor, Laurentian University

2015: Visiting Fellow, Curtin University (Perth, Australia)

2006 - 2011: Assistant professor, Laurentian University

2004 - 2006: Instructor, York University

On The Web





Curriculum Vitae


My research interests concern the intersections of environmental humanities, continental philosophy, philosophies of nature and the environment, animal studies, and the phenomena of endangered animals and species extinction. To this end I have a few research projects on the go:

(i) philosophical ethology, including the translation of writers Dominique Lestel (Animality, forthcoming with U of Edinburgh Press) and Vinciane Despret (Angelaki and University of Minnesota Press's "Posthumanities" series). For information on these publications, please see the Publications tab above; 

(ii) an historical and critical reading of the early 20th century "nature fakers" controversy, wherein I read the wild animal stories as instances of animal philosophy and philosophical ethology, and I do so in conversation with contemporary nature writing and artistic practices of being and thinking like an animal;

(ii) an examination of multispecies communities, endangered and extinct animals, critical ecologies, and notions of resilience, particularly with a view to regional disturbances in northern Ontario.


In 2013 I initiated and led a SSHRC-funded international symposium, "Thinking Extinction," on the philosophy and biology of species extinctions. This symposium featured a diverse network of scholars, artists, and scientists, including Margaret Atwood.

In 2017, while a Visiting Researcher at the ENS in Paris, France, I organized and hosted an international colloquium on "Field Philosophy and Other Experiments." This colloquium examined recent developments by philosophers to engage in experiential and collaborative learning through field work on environmental issues, and resulted in a special issue of parallax (now republished as a book with Routledge). 

In addition to the above, I have been a co-applicant, collaborator, and/or lead on a number of other conferences, symposia, and speaker series, both at Laurentian and elsewhere.



  • Environmental Humanities Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 2021
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) CREATE Grant, Collaborator (A Schulte-Hostedde PI), 2016-2022 ($1.6M CDN)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant, Co-applicant (R Wang PI), 2016 ($24, 675)
  • 40 Under Forty, Sudbury 2015
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Aid to Small Universities Grant, Co-applicant (G Crozier PI), 2014-2018 ($120, 000 CDN)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant, Collaborator (G Crozier PI), 2014-2016 ($62, 869 CDN)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant, Principal Investigator (PI), 2013-2014 ($42, 984 CDN)
  • Laurentian University SSHRC Research Support Fund, PI, 2013-2015 ($5,000 CDN)
  • Laurentian University Research Fund Grant, PI, 2012 ($1,500 CDN)
  • Laurentian University Research Fund Grant, PI, 2008 ($1,400 CDN)
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Hochschulsommerkurs, Friedrich Schiller Üniversität Jena, Jena, Germany, 2002 (€1,000+ board)
  • The John T. Richardson Fellowship, DePaul University. Karl-Eberhards Üniversität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany, 2002 ($6,500 USD)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Grant, PI, 2000-2004 ($72,100 CDN)
  • Ontario Graduate Student Scholarship, PI, 1999 ($12,500 CDN)



PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics (Fall 2021)
PHIL 2536: Sports Ethics (Fall 2021)
PHIL 3476: Existentialism (Fall 2021)
ENVI 3056: Animal Studies (Winter 2022)
ENVI 4746: Reaching Sustainability (Winter 2022)


PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment (Fall 2020)
PHIL 4006/HUMA 5256: Environmental Humanities (Fall 2020)
(6-month sabbatical leave) 


Fall 2019: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics
Winter 2020: ENVI 3056: Animal Studies
(Teaching reduction: Director, School of the Environment)


Fall 2018: PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment
Winter 2019: HUMA 5256/PHIL 3907: Environmental Humanities
(Teaching reduction: Director, School of the Environment)


Fall 2017: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics
Winter 2018: ENVI 3056: Animal Studies
(Teaching reduction: Director, School of the Environment)


Fall 2016: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics
Winter 2017: 6-month sabbatical
(Teaching reduction: Director, School of the Environment)


Fall 2015: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics
Winter 2016: PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment
(Teaching reduction: Director, School of the Environment)


(Teaching leave: Director, School of the Environment; and Chair, Department of Philosophy)


Fall 2013: PHIL 3476: Existentialism
Fall 2013: PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment (theme: species extinctions)
Winter 2014: PHIL 4007: Honours Seminar (theme: philosophy and biopolitics)
(Teaching reduction: Chair, Department of Philosophy)



Curriculum Vitae

Selected publications


Edited Journals/Books:


Conference/Workshop Coordination: