Dr. Kelly Bushnell
Historian & Literary Scholar
Dr. Kelly Bushnell is an award-winning teacher, historian, and literary scholar who specializes in the historical and cultural study of ocean ecologies. Kelly earned her BA from the University of California (San Diego), her MA from Mills College, and her PhD from the University of London (Royal Holloway). She now teaches in the Department of English at the University of West Florida, where her research focuses on the literature and culture of nineteenth-century Britain and the environmental humanities (particularly the sea in the Victorian period), including material culture and gender.
Kelly’s interdisciplinary research in the environmental humanities bridges the gap between the arts and sciences, and she regularly travels back to London to work in the archives of the British Library, Natural History Museum, National Maritime Museum, and Science Museum. Her publications include essays on oceanic literatures, Arctic whaling, ecocritical visual cultures, and cetacean captivity, and she is at work on a book about the depictions of sea life in Victoria literature.
Kelly is an avid water woman—her parents like to say she could row before she could walk—and counts among her favorite aquatic experiences: snorkeling in a cave in the Galapagos Islands with an enormous school of golden rays, and kayaking the Aurlandsfjord in Norway. She has also served as a volunteer naturalist aboard whale conservation and education programs, and as a team leader for the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Team, which rescues and rehabilitates (or necropsies) marine mammals and sea turtles. There she saw firsthand the effects of human interference on sea creatures, including turtles suffocated by balloons or tangled in fishing line, whales with bellies full of plastic, and dolphins driven ashore by sonar testing.
Kelly is particularly passionate about inspiring and empowering women and girls through education and exploration. During the Sedna Epic Expedition to Nunavut and Greenland in August 2018, she’ll provide a historical and literary context on how the feminist movement has propelled women to explore space, the depths of the oceans, and polar regions.
An excellent article about Dr. Kelly Bushnell: UWF Professor, Feminist, Advocate for Women!
To learn more about Kelly and her work you can visit her webpage at www.kellypbushnell.com/arctic