Rebecca McWilliams Ojala Ballard

Assistant Professor
Rebecca McWilliams Ojala Ballard
WMS 447
20th and 21st century American literature and culture, environmental humanities and ecocriticism, speculative fiction and science fiction film, American studies

Rebecca McWilliams Ojala Ballard, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. Duke University (2016), B.A. Columbia University (2010), specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century U.S. literature and culture. Her research explores how the political and the literary inform each other in the contemporary world, tracing both how social movements take narrative shape and how fiction responds to issues of social justice. She is currently completing a manuscript that investigates how structural and environmental understandings of violence that began to emerge in the 1960s shaped both U.S. fiction and U.S. social movements from the 1970s to the present and argues that minoritized writers mobilize speculative genres (surrealism, magical realism, apocalypse, the gothic) to defamiliarize, concretize, and imagine alternatives to structural forms of harm. Her research beyond this project is similarly situated at the intersections of genre, politics, and the environmental humanities, with published, forthcoming, and in-progress work on climate fiction, environmental justice, the emerging utopian genre of visionary fiction, Afrofuturism and the Anthropocene, and socio-environmental histories of Anglophone science fiction.


  • “Geomemory and Genre Friction: Infrastructural Violence and Plantation Afterlives in Contemporary African American Novels.” American Literature (2021), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.
  • “Hyperempathy.” An Ecotopian Lexicon, edited by Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Brent Bellamy, University of Minnesota Press (2019), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.
  • “New Wave Science Fiction and the Dawn of the Environmental Movement.” The Cambridge History of Science Fiction, edited by Gerry Canavan and Eric Carl Link (2018), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.
  • “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, the End of Times?: The Uses and Abuses of Environmental Apocalypse.” ASAP/J (2018), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.
  • “Nomenclature, Narrative, and Novum: ‘The Anthropocene’ and/as Science Fiction.” Science Fiction Studies (2018), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.
  • “Fantastic Futures? Cli-Fi, Climate Justice, and Queer Futurity.” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities (2017), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.
  • "James Tiptree, Jr.: Rereading Ecofeminism and Essentialism in the 1970s.” Women’s Studies Quarterly (2015), as Rebecca McWilliams Evans.


  • “Environmental Justice.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.
  • "Anglophone Print Fiction: The New Wave to the New Millennium.” The New Routledge Companion to Science Fiction.
  • “Climate Fiction” and “Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140.” Co-authored with Col Roche and Elena Welsh (Southwestern University). This Is Not a Science Fiction Textbook, Goldsmiths/MIT.
  • "Collectivism as Adaptation in Climate Fiction." Co-authored with Col Roche and Elena Welsh (Southwestern University). Accepted at ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.