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 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: Critical Essays on Ron Rash (forthcoming from the University of South Carolina Press), and he is the editor of Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies (under contract with Louisiana State University Press).
- Ph.D., English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- M.A., English, North Carolina State University
- B.A., English, Clemson University
Current Book Projects
- Summoning the Dead: Critical 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. Forthcoming from University of South Carolina Press. Fall/Winter 2017. Co-edited with Randall Wilhelm.
- 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 review.
- Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies.
- This is the first collection of scholarship that applies interdisciplinary environmental humanities research to analyses of the U.S. South. In a world that is currently witnessing ever-worsening disruptions to global ecosystems, it is now more important than ever for scholars across academia to examine the pressures of this increasingly post-natural world. Under contract with Louisiana State University 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 also won the 2015 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. In progress.
Academic Articles and Book Chapters
- “The Anthropocene and the Age of Southern Solastalgia.” Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies. Under contract with Louisiana State University Press.
- “Culture Detectives: The New School of Contemporary Southern Nonfiction." Detecting the South. Eds. Deborah E. Barker and Theresa Starkey. Under contract with Louisiana State University Press.
- "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. Under contract with Louisiana State University Press
- “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. Co-authored with Jessica Martell. Under contract with Louisiana State University Press.
- “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: Critical Essays on Ron Rash. Forthcoming from the University of South Carolina Press.
- “The Hum of Resurection: Raising Rash to Critical Light.” Summoning the Dead: Critical Essays on Ron Rash. Co-authored with Randall Wilhelm. Forthcoming from the University of South Carolina Press.
- "Farm Noir: Agriculture, Empathy, and Genre." John Alton: An Artist of the Moving Image. Ed. Leon Lewis. Forthcoming from McFarland Press.
- “Romanticizing the Rough South: Contemporary Cultural Nakedness and the Rise of Grit Lit.” Southern Cultures 22.3 (Fall 2016): 77-94.
- “Southern Cinematic Slumming: The Rough South Turn in Post-South Film.” The Bohemian South. Eds. Shawn Bingham and Lindsey A. Freeman. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2017. 148-164.
- “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. Under contract with West Virginia University Press.
- “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. Jackson: UP 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.
Creative Non-Fiction Articles
- “Blast South: A Manifesto of Southern Vorticism.” Mississippi Quarterly 68.1-2 (Winter-Spring 2015): 5-10. Co-authored.
- "Boone Summer: Adventures of a Bad Environmentalist." North Carolina Literary Review 25 (2016): 26-40. Winner of the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. http://www.nclr.ecu.edu/news/2015-Albright-CNF-Prize-Winner.html.
- "Halloween's Herald of Democracy: Allan Gurganus and the Horror Show of American Politics." North Carolina Literary Review 23 (2014): 140-149.
- "Walking Down Furrows, Talking Down Lines: The Polemics and Poetics of Wilmer Mills." The Carolina Quarterly 61.1 (2011): 34-43.
- "The Role of Witness: Ron Rash's Peculiarly Historical Consciousness." The South Carolina Review 42.2 (2010): 19-24.
Interviews and Reviews
- “With Eyes to See It: A Review of Ron Rash’s Above the Waterfall.” North Carolina Literary Review. Forthcoming.
- “Their Impulse toward the Terrain: An Interview with Robert Gipe.” Cold Mountain Review. Forthcoming.
- "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. http://coldmountainreview.org/from-the-sublime-to-destruction-chad-stevens/.
- "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." CQ Online. July 2011. cqonline.web.unc.edu/webedition/.
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Department of English
Email address: Email me