Tyler is on leave for the academic year 2023-2024 but regularly checks his Bates email address.

Tyler A. Harper

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies

Hedge Hall, Room 112



Ph.D., Comparative Literature, New York University (2020)
M.A., Comparative Literature, New York University (2017)
B.A., English, Haverford College (2014)

Tyler Austin Harper is a literary scholar working at the intersection of environmental studies, philosophy, and the history of science. His current book project, provisionally entitled “The Paranoid Animal: Human Extinction Before the Bomb,” examines how British literary figures, scientists, and social theorists engaged with the concept of human extinction prior to the nuclear age. Specifically, his work argues that the period between 1800 and 1945 witnessed a shift from fatalistic visions of the end of humanity—dominant during the Romantic Era and influenced by theories of geological catastrophism—toward a new, post-Darwinian conception of human extinction in which threats to the species were reimagined as risks that could be mitigated by technological intervention. He is especially interested in how a growing awareness of the human race’s existential precarity became imbricated with the problem of meaninglessness, leading to increasingly nihilistic cultural imaginations of nature in general, and the planetary in particular, during this period.

His more recent research has examined engagements with existential risk—and particularly climatic and ecological threats—in contemporary philosophy, political theory, and science fiction. His work has been published in Modern Language Quarterly, Science Fiction Studies, Syndicate, and Paradoxa.

His public writing on politics, culture, race, and technology has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Mother Jones, Slate, the BBC, The Daily Beast, Salon, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Courses Taught:
ENVR 205: Lives in Place
ENVR 227: Catastrophes and Hope
EN/ES 235: Climate Fiction
ENVR 349: Extinction