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Dr. Sofia Varino

Research Project

My current book-length project examines the genealogies of the Covid pandemic in the context of planetary health and climate change. I approach the pandemic as an ecological, biomedical and clinical event in relation to environmental and disability justice movements, as well as queer and feminist activism, with a special focus on North America.


With a focus on environmental and disability justice, my research and teaching cut across environmental and medical humanities, queer and decolonial ecologies, feminist science studies, and feminist pedagogy. I am particularly interested in making higher education more accessible for everyone.

I have published in Somatechnics, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly and Feral Feminisms, among others. My poetry pamphlet Natural Language was published in 2017 by Dancing Girl Press and I have been working with poetry and experimental prose in various formats since 2002.

During 2016-18, I was a research fellow at the Image Knowledge Gestaltung Cluster of Excellence at Humboldt University of Berlin, and I have designed and taught courses in the Gender Studies program at HU. My academic research and teaching are informed by many years of queer and feminist activism spanning public art and community organizing. I co-hosted the podcast Radical Encounter, directed three editions of the NYC Feminist Film Week (2017-19) and have been collaborating since 2010 with Harmattan Theater, an NYC based environmental performance ensemble.

I hold a Ph.D. in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies with a certificate in Art and Philosophy from Stony Brook State University of New York (SUNY).

Research Interests

  • Planetary Health
  • Environmental & Disability Justice
  • Environmental & Medical Humanities
  • Queer & Decolonial Ecologies
  • Feminist Science Studies
  • Feminist Pedagogy

Publications and Activities

Publications (Selected)

  • Aquatopia: Climate Interventions, co-authored with May Joseph. London and New York: Routledge, 2023 (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Spotlight).
  • A Viral Pedagogy: Undoing Things with Long Covid’s (Auto)immunities. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Autoimmunities in the Wake of Covid Special Section. Eds. Nishant Shahani and Travis Alexander, Volume 10, Number 1, 2024
  • Pathogenic (Auto)Ecologies: Environmental Illness Mechanisms. Handbook to the Medical-Environmental Humanities, Eds. Scott Slovic, Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Vidya Sarveswaran, Bloomsbury, 2022 (forthcoming July 28).
  • Technology’s Bodies: Notes from the Technosomata Symposium, GenderBlog, Humboldt University of Berlin, January 13, 2022.
  • (Un)Doing Viral Time: Queer Temporalities of Living & Dying in Pandemic Times. Whatever: Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theory. What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Queer Death? Dossier, Volume 4, June/July 2021.
  • Multidirectional Thalassology: Comparative Lagoon Ecologies, co-authored with May Joseph. Shima Journal, Volume 15, Number 1, 2021.
  • Somatechnics Journal Special Issue: Data Matters. Co-edited with Lisa Malich and Lotta Fiedel. Volume 9, Numbers 2-3. Edinburgh University Press (2019).
  • Coeliac Activity: Disassembling Gluten and Coeliac Disease. Somatechnics Journal Special Issue. Vol. 9, Numbers 2-3 (2019).
  • Getting Our Hands Dirty: Reflections on Data. Co-authored with Lotta Fiedel and Lisa Malich. Somatechnics Journal Special Issue. Vol. 9, Numbers 2-3 (2019).
  • Incorporeal Conditions: Elizabeth Grosz’s Ontoethics. Book review of The Incorporeal by Elizabeth Grosz (Columbia University Press, 2017). Freiburger Zeitschrift für Geschlechter Studien Special Issue: The Place of the Political in Critical Feminist Materialisms. Issue 24 (2018).
  • Liminal Politics: Performing Feminine Difference with Hélène Cixous. European Journal of Women's Studies Special Issue: Femininity Revisited. Vol. 25, Issue 3 (2018).
  • Aquapelagic Assemblages: Performing Urban Ecology with Harmattan Theater. Co-authored with May Joseph. Women’s Studies Quarterly Special Issue: At Sea. Vol. 45, Issue 1 & 2, Spring/Summer (2017).
  • Natural Language. Dancing Girl Press, Chicago (2017).
  • Vital Differences. Indeterminacy and the Biomedical Body. Stony Brook University (2017).      
  • The Brain’s Body: Neuroscience & Corporeal Politics by Victoria Pitts-Taylor. Book review of The Brain’s Body by Victoria Pitts-Taylor (Duke University Press, 2016). Gender Bulletin 53 (2016/17).


Activities (Selected)

2024 Aquatopia Book Talk with May Joseph, Utrecht University Library. March 20.

2024 RIVER ON THE DAM performance with Harmattan Theater, Maas Canal, Rotterdam. March 19.

2024 Dimensions of Political Ecology (DOPE) 13th Annual Conference (University of Kentucky, USA). “Deadly Ecologies: Protesting Fossil Fuels with David Buckel” Panel Presentation. February 22-24 (online).

2023 Queer Dis-eases: Disruptive Histories, Politics, and Bodies Conference (European University Institute, Florence, Italy). “Disorderly Ecologies: The Queer Temporalities of Chemical Sensitivity” Panel Presentation. May 22-23 (online).

2023 5th Luso-Brazilian Conference on the History of Tropical Medicine (Nova University of Lisbon, Portugal). “Zoonotic Entanglements: Biomedical and Environmental Models of Disease in a Pandemic Anthropocene” Panel Presentation. June 14 (online).

2023 Planetary Precarity: Disability, Rights & Justice Conference (Sydney, Australia). “Aquatopian Ecologies: A Multispecies Praxis” Panel Presentation with May Joseph. November 29-December 1 (online).

2023 Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. “Water Ecologies” Spotlight Panelist. December 1 (online). Link:

2023 Interview, The Chemical Sensitivity Podcast, hosted by Aaron Goodman, Episode 36. November 28. Link:

2023 Interview, Art for a Changing World: Conversations on Climate Change and the Reshaping of Contemporary Art with Lisa Bloom, UC Berkeley. October 31.

2023 Radical Care Panel Invited Speaker, Engel Café, Hudara NGO, Berlin. August 17.

2022 Planetary Precarity and Future Habitability International Conference (Bennett University, India). Planetary Survival Aesthetics Session, “Multispecies Collaborations with the Venetian Lagoon” Paper Presentation. February 18 & 19 (online).

2022 MLA Annual Convention (Washington DC). AIDS, Covid-19, and the Medical Humanities Forum Session, “Care Collectives: Therapeutic and Pedagogical Transformations from AIDS to Covid-19” Paper Presentation. January 6-9 (online).

2022 Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting (Cholula, Mexico). Theorizing the Human and their Surroundings After the Microbiome. "Alive Together: Symbiosis as Multispecies Cooperation Across Biomes and Microbiomes According to Lynn Margulis” Panel Presentation. December 7-10 (online).

2022 Motherhoods on Screen: Global Perspectives (Maynooth University, Ireland). “Give Birth a Chance: Visual Iconographies of (Un)Natural Birth According to Ina May Gaskin,” Panel Presentation. September 23-24 (online).

2022 European Society for the History of Science Conference (University of Brussels, Belgium). "Containing the Uncontainable: The Pharmakon of Prevention in Vaccination Epistemologies Across Science, Ecology & Public Health Policy" Panel Presentation. September 7-10.

2022 Urban Creativity Annual Conference (Lisbon, Portugal). “Water Activity: Multispecies Collaborations with the Venetian Lagoon,” Panel Presentation. July 6-9 (online).

2022 British Society for Science and Literature Annual Conference (Manchester, England). Multispecies Approaches Panel, “Multispecies Immunity & Care in a Pandemic Anthropocene” Paper Presentation. April 7-9 (online).

2022 Modern Language Association Annual Convention (Washington DC, USA). “Care Collectives: Therapeutic and Pedagogical Transformations from AIDS to Covid-19,” AIDS, Covid-19, and the Medical Humanities Forum Session Panel Presentation. January 6-9 (online).

2021 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) Biennial Conference. Aesthetic Responses to Environmental Emergencies Panel, “Water Activity” Paper Presentation, July 26-August 6 (online).

2021 Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting (Toronto, Canada). “Multispecies Care Across a Pandemic Anthropocene” Panel Presentation. September 6-9 (online).

2021 COVID-19 beyond Borders: Rethinking Medical Humanities at the Frontlines Conference (University of Vienna, Austria). “A Viral Ecology: Tracing Planetary Temporalities of Care Across a Pandemic Anthropocene” Lecture. June 28 (online).

2021 Technosomata Symposium (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany and Exeter University, UK). “Can Zöe Speak?” Panel Presentation. July 5 (online).

2021 British Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference (online). “Viral Activity” Panel Presentation. April 8 (online).

2021 Interview, Encounters with Viral Objects. Unravelling the Anthropocene podcast, Episode 20, Penn State University. March 18. Link:

2021 Interview. Radical Care Session on Instagram Live, Hudara NGO. January 31 (online). Link:

2021 Prosthetic Embodiment & Cognition Lecture Series. “Cyborg Corporealities in Cherrie Moraga’s Play Heroes and Saints” Public Lecture. Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. January 27 (online).

2020 British Society for Science and Literature Winter Symposium (Sheffield University, UK). “Sentient Symphony: Life as a Category of Knowledge in the Popular Science Narratives of Lynn Margulis” Panel Presentation. November 28 (online).

2020 European Society for the History of Science Conference (online). “An Unnatural History of Gaia Theory According to James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis” Panel Presentation. Aug 31-Sept 3 (online).

2020 Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Europe Annual Conference (online). “Multispecies Ontologies in the Anthropocene” Panel Presentation. June 17-20 (online).