Rivers, Daniel

Daniel Lanza Rivers

Assistant Professor of American Studies & Literature


Ph.D. in Cultural Studies & English, Claremont Graduate University

MA in Humanities & Social Thought, New York University

BA in Liberal Studies, Minor in English, Sonoma State University


Daniel Lanza Rivers is a scholar and teacher in the areas of comparative cultural studies, transnational American studies, gender & sexuality studies, U.S. literature, and environmental humanities. His writing has appeared in the Journal of Transnational American Studies, Apogee, Women's Studies, and Joyland Magazine, and is forthcoming in American Quarterly.

Daniel's research brings feminist, queer, decolonial, transnational, and comparative ethnic studies approaches to examining relationships among ecology and culture. His current projects examine how popular thinking about nature and the natural has shaped the development of landscapes and the health of their human and nonhuman inhabitants.

His forthcoming article (American Quarterly, June 2020) does this by examining the visual and written cultures of grizzly eradication in settler California. In addition to unpacking the ways that white settlers transformed the California Grizzly into a symbol of imperial manliness, this article analyzes the creative and political discussions of the untamed outdoors that framed Native nations and wild grizzlies as threats to a properly domesticated (and commercially productive) U.S. California.

Daniel's current book project, Life Outside, broadens this scope of inquiry to ask how settler fantasies of California's "natural" state have worked in tandem with popular thinking about human and nonhuman nature. This project draws together an archive of literature, public discourse, material culture, ethnography, and environmental history to analyze the ways that settler notions of nature, the domestic, the wild, and the outdoors have shaped California's landscapes, living environments, and public spaces. It is guided by an environmental justice framework that asks how environmental relations have served both as vehicles of institutional menace and as sites of coalitional and decolonial resistance to extractive industry, racial capitalism, and the settler state. Topics of consideration for this project include grizzly eradication, Native sovereignty and resistance, Central Valley agroindustry, farmworker activism, the wilderness commune movement, watershed restoration, housing & residential displacement, urban encampment, and legacies of literary expression.

Daniel's other recent publication credits include a guest editorship of the special issue of Women's Studies titled "Futures of Feminist Science Studies." Daniel's work in feminist science studies (FSS) grew out of his interest in histories of evolutionary and environmental thought, and it informs his approach to analyzing relationships of power among ecology and culture.


Office Hours: M/W, 11:00-11:30, 4:30-5PM, Clark 420C