Ursula Heise, Marcia Howard chair in literary studies and professor in both UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the English department, has been awarded this year’s British Society for Literature and Science prize for best book in the field of literature and science published in 2016.
Heise explores extinction, endangered species, and species and wildlife conservation through the lens of culture and storytelling in her recent book, “Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species.” Praising the book's scope and rigor, the society’s judging committee called Heise’s work “beautiful, absorbing, brilliantly argued and vividly illustrated with an astonishing variety of sources and media.”
As a researcher and professor, Heise focuses on contemporary literature, environmental culture, narrative and media theory, literature and science, and science fiction. In 2016, Heise co-founded UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies, an incubator for new research and collaboration on storytelling, communications and media in the service of environmental conservation and equity. She is part of a campuswide effort at UCLA to promote environmental humanities, an interdisciplinary subject that addresses relations among environmental science, social literature, history and media.
The British Society promotes interdisciplinary research of the relationship between science and literature in all periods. Along with their book prize, the society offers literary scientists a platform and resources necessary to perpetuate their work through conferences, symposiums, book reviews, art blog publishing and general funding.