Zackary Vernon

Academic Specialty:

Zackary Vernon specializes in American literature and film. In particular, his work examines the intersections among environmental activism, philosophy, film, and literature from romanticism to the present. Vernon also has an abiding interest in studying the literary, cultural, and material history of Appalachia and the U.S. South. His research has appeared in a range of scholarly books and journals, including Journal of American Studies, Southern Cultures, and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. Vernon is a co-editor of Summoning the Dead: Essays on Ron Rash (University of South Carolina Press, 2018), and he is the editor of Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies (Louisiana State University Press, 2019). His creative nonfiction has been published in magazines and journals, such as The Bitter Southerner, North Carolina Literary Review, and Carolina Quarterly.


  • Ph.D., English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.A., English, North Carolina State University
  • B.A., English, Clemson University

Selected Publications:

Book Projects

  • Summoning the Dead: Essays on Ron Rash.
    • This co-edited volume is the first book-length collection of scholarship on Ron Rash. The collection features the work of many top scholars in southern and Appalachian studies, and it provides a disparate but related constellation of interdisciplinary approaches to Rash's fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. University of South Carolina Press, 2018. Co-edited with Randall Wilhelm.
  • Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies.
    • This is the first book-length collection of scholarship that applies interdisciplinary environmental humanities research to analyses of the U.S. South. All of the essays in this collection demonstrate how the greening of southern studies and the southernization of environmental studies can catalyze alternative ways of understanding the connections between regional and global cultures and landscapes. Louisiana State University Press, 2019.
  • Haunted by Waters: The Hydropolitics of American Literature and Film, 1960-1980.
    • An extended version of Vernon's doctoral dissertation, this book examines significant literary, cinematic, and socio-political productions of the 1960s and 1970s that utilize hydrological metaphors of containment and contagion to explore Cold War anxieties regarding gender, sexuality, (post)humanism, and cultural heterogeneity. Under contract with the University of Nevada Press.
  • Adventures of a Bad Environmentalist.
    • This creative nonfiction book explores a range of local activities—homesteading, hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, eating, wine making—in order to determine whether it is possible to be a resource-consuming and pleasure-seeking human while also being a good environmental steward. The first chapter of this book was published in the North Carolina Literary Review 25 (2016): 26-40, and it also won the 2015 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. In progress.

Academic Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Faulkner’s Charismatic Megaflora: Critical Plant Studies and the U.S. South.” Journal of Modern Literature. Forthcoming.
  • "The Inebriation and Adaptation of Larry Brown’s Big Bad Love.” Southern Comforts: Drinking and the U.S. South. Eds. Conor Picken and Matthew Dischinger. Louisiana State University Press, 2020. 136-148.
  • “Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Bogfolk’: Apocalypse, Fertility Rites, and Irish History in The Road.” Swamp Souths: Literary and Cultural Ecologies. Eds. Eric Gary Anderson, Taylor Hagood, Kirstin Squint, and Anthony Wilson. Louisiana State University Press, 2020. 217-228. Co-authored with Jessica Martell.
  • "Farm Noir: Agriculture, Empathy, and Genre." John Alton: An Artist of the Moving Image. Ed. Leon Lewis. McFarland Press, 2020. 126-147. Co-authored with Jessica Martell.
  • “Culture Detectives: A New School of Contemporary Southern Nonfiction." Detecting the South in Fiction, Film, and Television. Eds. Deborah E. Barker and Theresa Starkey. Louisiana State University Press, 2019.
  • "Southern Studies in the Age of the Anthropocene.” Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies. Ed. Zackary Vernon. Louisiana State University Press, 2019. 1-20.
  • “Strange Agrarianisms: Transmutations of I’ll Take My Stand in James Dickey’s Deliverance and Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden.” Summoning the Dead:  Essays on Ron Rash. Eds. Randall Wilhelm and Zackary Vernon. University of South Carolina Press, 2018.
  • “The Hum of Resurrection: Raising Rash to Critical Light.” Summoning the Dead: Essays on Ron Rash. Eds. Randall Wilhelm and Zackary Vernon. University of South Carolina Press, 2018. Co-authored with Randall Wilhelm.
  • “Southern Cinematic Slumming: The Rough South Turn in Post-South Film.” The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk. Eds. Shawn Bingham and Lindsey A. Freeman. University of North Carolina Press, 2017. 148-164.
  • “Romanticizing the Rough South: Contemporary Cultural Nakedness and the Rise of Grit Lit.” Southern Cultures 22.3 (Fall 2016): 77-94.
  • “Toward a Post-Appalachian Sense of Place.” Journal of American Studies 50.3 (2016): 639-658. Forthcoming re-print in Appalachian Ecocriticism. Eds. Jessica Cory and Laura Wright.
  • “Reading the Forms of History: Plantation Ledgers and Modernist Experimentation in William Faulkner’s ‘The Bear.’” Fifty Years after Faulkner. Eds. Jay Watson and Anne J. Abadie. University Press of Mississippi, 2016. 168-188. Co-authored with Patrick Horn and Jessica Martell.
  • “The Anthropocene and the Future of Southern Studies.” Mississippi Quarterly 68.1-2 (Winter-Spring 2015): 32-34.
  • “‘Of Great Gabasidy’: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and the Making of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.” Journal of Modern Literature 38.3 (Spring 2015): 56-70. Co-authored with Jessica Martell.
  • “The Enfreakment of Southern Memoir in Harry Crews’s A Childhood.” Mississippi Quarterly. 67.2 (Spring 2014): 193-211.
  • “‘Being Myriad, One’: Melville and the Ethics of the Ecological Sublime in Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses.” Studies in the Novel 46.1 (Spring 2014): 63-82.
  • “The Problematic History and Recent Cultural Reappropriation of Southern Agrarianism.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 21.2 (Spring 2014): 337-352.
  • “Commemoration versus Commodification: Ron Rash and the Search for an Appalachian Literary Identity.” Appalachian Journal 42.1/2 (Fall 2013/Winter 2014): 104-23.

Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction

Interviews and Reviews

  • “Alabama Márquez: An Interview with Caleb Johnson.” Cold Mountain Review (Spring/Summer 2019).
  • “Writers Empowering Readers: An Interview with Allan Gurganus.” North Carolina Literary Review 27 (2018). 18-33.
  • “With Eyes to See It: A Review of Ron Rash’s Above the Waterfall.” NCLR Online 27 (2018): 30-32.
  • “Their Impulse toward the Terrain: An Interview with Robert Gipe.” Cold Mountain Review 45.2 (Spring/Summer 2017).
  • "Alternative Appalachia: A Review of Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean." Appalachian Journal 43.3-4 (Spring-Summer 2016): 246-250.
  • "From the Sublime to Destruction: An Introduction to Overburden and Interview with Documentarian Chad A. Stevens." Cold Mountain Review 44.2 (Spring 2016). Co-conducted with Sarah Beth Hopton.
  • "North Carolina Connections: An Interview with NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer." NCLR Online 25 (2015): 10-26. Reprinted in North Carolina Literary Review 25 (2016): 8-24.
  • "Overcoming the Southern Cult of Authenticity: A Review of Wiley Cash's This Dark Road to Mercy." NCLR Online 24 (2014): 98-100.
  • "Writing the Other World War: Terry Roberts and Ron Rash Discuss World War I, the German Internment Camp in North Carolina, and the Historical Novel." North Carolina Literary Review 23 (2014): 30-47.
  • "'Green Life Running Wild': Environmental Philosophy in Charles Frazier's Nightwoods." NCLR Online 22 (2013): 92-95.
  • "A Poet's Native Tongue: Ron Rash's Waking." The Carolina Quarterly 62.1 (2012): 112-115.
  • "Interview with Wilmer Mills." The Carolina Quarterly Online. July 2011.
Title: Associate Professor
Department: Department of English

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-8127

Office address
Sanford Hall 544