Jake McGinnis

Jake Mcginnis

Email:  jmcginn5@nd.edu

Areas of Interest
19th Century American, Literature and Environment, Affect Theory, Creative Nonfiction

B.A. Writing, minors in English and environmental studies, Northland College
M.A. English, literature focus, University of Idaho

Jake McGinnis is a doctoral student in English at the University of Notre Dame and the managing editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.  He specializes in literature and environmental thought in the nineteenth-century United States. 

McGinnis’s research and teaching alike are motivated by a deep belief in the continuing significance of historical literature to new and emerging forms of environmentalism and social justice. Situated at the intersection of ecocriticism, New Materialism, and affect theory, his work attends to the emerging forms of nonfiction travel writing that allowed American authors in the nineteenth century to map out new modes of engagement with ecologies close to home and across the continent. 

In addition to his scholarly writing, McGinnis is interested in creative nonfiction and the public environmental humanities. 

McGinnis was previously a lecturer in English at the University of Idaho, where he taught courses on writing, rhetoric, and professional communication.



“Peeping at Melville’s Typee: Thoreau’s ‘dusky and unexplored nature.’” ESQ, forthcoming.


“‘A smack of wildness’: Affect and Enchantment in Thoreau’s First Taste of the Maine Woods.”  Concord Saunterer, forthcoming.



Recent conference presentations:

“’Yankee in Canada,’ Cape Cod, and Thoreau’s Re-engineered America.”  Thoreau Society Annual Gathering, “Engineering Thoreau:  Nature, Technology, and the Connected Life,” Concord, MA, 11-14 July 2019.

“’The Book to the Reader’: Affect and Bioregion in Summer on the Lakes.”  Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, “Paradise on Fire,” University of California, Davis, 26-30 June 2019.

“Materiality, Affect, and Apocalypse: Rereading Jonathan Edwards at the End of the World.”  Apocalyptic Violence: Aesthetics, Theology, and Catastrophic Climate Change, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1 February 2019. 

“The Limits of Eco-materialism: Affect and Environment in Jonathan Edwards,” American Literature in the World, Yale University, 6 April 2018.


“‘That wholly visionary dreamland’: Thoreau’s Early Natural History Writing,” C19: Society for Nineteenth-Century Americanists, “Climate,” Albuquerque, 21-25 March 2018. 


“‘A Smack of Wildness’: Affect and Enchantment in Thoreau’s First Taste of the Maine Woods,” Thoreau Society Annual Gathering and Bicentennial Celebration of Thoreau’s Life, Works, and Legacy, Concord, 12-16 July 2017.


“Thoreau’s Affects: On Forest Succession, Wildness, and the Anthropocene,” Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, “Rust/Resistance,” Wayne State University, 20-24 June 2017.