Critical Zones

Launched in fall 2019, Critical Zones is a nexus for research exchange in the environmental humanities at the University of Toronto and beyond—a network of research labs bringing together scholars and creative practitioners from different fields across the humanities, arts and sciences. Critical Zones will fill a gap at the University of Toronto and engage environmental issues in Canada’s largest city and in the internationally significant bioregion of the Great Lakes. In this way, Critical Zones gives structure to research activities already happening at the University of Toronto, facilitates new connections among scholars, stimulates the creation of innovative projects, and functions as a springboard for community engagement. Critical Zones offers enormous opportunity to engage with, learn from, and build on Indigenous knowledges and experiences. Environmental humanities have emerged internationally as an essential field of study in universities in this moment of urgent global concern. However, this field is not yet highly developed in the Canadian context. Critical Zones will position the University of Toronto as a leader in the field.


  • Stefan Soldovieri, Germanic Languages & Literatures

Steering Committee

  • Janice Boddy, Chair, Anthropology
  • James Cahill, Director, Cinema Studies
  • Steve Easterbrook, Director, School of the Environment
  • Susan Hill, Director, Indigenous Studies
  • Alison Keith, Classics; JHI Director
  • Sherry Lee, Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Music
  • Andrea Most, English
  • Alexandra Rahr, American Studies
  • John Robinson, Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Matti Siemiatycki, Geography & Planning; Interim Director, School of Cities
  • Stefan Soldovieri, Chair, German; Director
  • Cheryl Suzak, English
  • Jane Wolff, John M. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design