Dr. Sofia Varino

Dissertation Project

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


My research centers on medical and scientific knowledge production (especially immunology, virology and epidemiology) and how biomedical practices are historically entangled with political, material and economic forces in what has come to be known as the age of the Anthropocene. I am particularly interested in concepts of indeterminacy and uncertainty; marginal and obsolete knowledge systems; and epistemic justice, inclusivity and accessibility in higher education. 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, and I have devised and taught graduate seminars in the MA program in Gender Studies at Humboldt. 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

  • American Studies 
  • History of Science and Medicine (esp. immunology, virology, epidemiology)
  • Environmental Studies
  • Queer and Feminist Studies
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Body Theory
  • Visual Culture
  • Public and Digital Humanities

Publications and Activities

Publications (Selected)

  • Toxic Data: Clinical & Ecological Practices of Environmental Illness. The Bloomsbury Handbook of Medical Environmental Humanities. Eds. Scott Slovic and Swarnalatha Rangarajan. Bloomsbury (forthcoming).
  • Somatechnics 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 Special Issue. Vol. 9, Numbers 2-3 (2019).
  • Getting Our Hands Dirty: Reflections on Data. Co-authored with Lotta Fiedel and Lisa Malich. Somatechnics 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 SUNY (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).