Brett Buchanan

Brett Buchanan

Director | Associate Professor

School of the Environment
F-322A, Science Building Sudbury Campus


I have been teaching at Laurentian since 2006, where I am Full Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies. I am currently Director of the School of the Environment (a unit that includes Archaeology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Études de l'environnement, and Science Communication), and have previously been Chair of the Department of Philosophy (2009, 2010, 2013-2015). I am also affiliated with Laurentian's Humanities M.A. and the Human Studies Ph.D., graduate programs through which I supervise students. 

My teaching and research centers on the intersections of the environmental humanities, contemporary continental philosophy, and animal studies. In 2015 I was a Visiting Fellow at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, where I was able to continue on-going research projects with colleagues in philosophical ethology, and during a six-month sabbatical in 2017 I was a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the École normale supérieure in Paris.

Professionally, I sit on a number of scholarly boards and committees, including Wilfrid Laurier University Press's Environmental Humanities book series, Environmental Humanities journal, and Rowman & Littlefield International's Ecotones book series. In 2018 I was the President of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC) (and now past-President for 2019), and I have previously served as Secretary and V-P of The Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture (EPTC). At Laurentian I am a founding core member of the research Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ethical Conservation (CEEEC), and I have led and co-organized several colloquiums/workshops, including Thinking Extinction (Sudbury, 2013) and Field Philosophy (Paris, 2017).

Within the community, I serve as an executive board member with Cinefest Sudbury, help instruct with Laurentian Nordic Ski Club, and have previously served on the boards of reThink Green (2015-2018) and the Laurentian Child and Family Centre (2009-2014), as well as coach some of my kids's sports teams.

I bike, hike, and xc ski whenever possible, including to campus.


Academic Appointments

2014- present: Director, School of the Environment, Laurentian University

2018 - present: Full professor, Laurentian University

2017: Visiting Researcher, Department of Philosophy, École Normale Supérieure (Paris, France)

2013 - present: Adjunct professor, York University

2007 - present: Core faculty member, Humanities MA, Laurentian University

2007 - present: Associate faculty member, Human Studies PhD, Laurentian University

2011 - 2018: Associate professor, Laurentian University

2015: Visiting Fellow, Curtin University (Perth, Australia)

2006 - 2011: Assistant professor, Laurentian University

2004 - 2006: Instructor, York University

On The Web





My research interests concern the intersections of environmental humanities, continental philosophy, philosophies of nature and the environment, animal studies, and the phenomena of endangered animals and species extinction. To this end I have a few research projects on the go:

(i) philosophical ethology, including the translation of writers Dominique Lestel and Vinciane Despret (Angelaki and University of Minnesota Press's "Posthumanities" series). For information on these publications, please see the Publications tab above; 

(ii) an examination of the social and cultural legacies of Sudbury's regreening history;

(iii) an examination of multispecies communities, endangered and extinct animals, critical ecologies, and notions of resilience, particularly with a view to regional disturbances in northern Ontario.

Together with colleagues in the School of the Environment and in the Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ethical Conservation (CEEEC), I host and hold various research events during the academic year.


  • Carol Koziol (PhD, Human Studies), "Ecoresilience in Ecovillages"
  • Sabine Bouchard (MSCom, Science Communication), "Human-Wildlife Encounters in Northeastern Ontario"


  • Emmett Turkington (MA, Humanities), "Blubbering On: Whale Narratives, Whale Agency"
  • Patrick Gamsby (PhD, Human Studies), "The Black Sun of Boredom: Henri Lefebvre and the Critique of Everyday Life" (co-supervisor)
  • Kaila Levola (MA, Humanities), "Wildlife (Re)framed: Rethinking Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education"
  • Sergio Fortunato (MA, Humanities), "Plato and Pedagogy"



  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant, Co-applicant (R Wang PI), 2016 ($24, 675)
  • 40 Under Forty, Sudbury 2015
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Aid to Small Universities Grant, Co-applicant (G Crozier PI), 2014-2018 ($120, 000 CDN)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant, Collaborator (G Crozier PI), 2014-2016 ($62, 869 CDN)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant, Principal Investigator (PI), 2013-2014 ($42, 984 CDN)
  • Laurentian University SSHRC Research Support Fund, PI, 2013-2015 ($5,000 CDN)
  • Laurentian University Research Fund Grant, PI, 2012 ($1,500 CDN)
  • Laurentian University Research Fund Grant, PI, 2008 ($1,400 CDN)
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Hochschulsommerkurs, Friedrich Schiller Üniversität Jena, Jena, Germany, 2002 (€1,000+ board)
  • The John T. Richardson Fellowship, DePaul University. Karl-Eberhards Üniversität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany, 2002 ($6,500 USD)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Grant, PI, 2000-2004 ($72,100 CDN)
  • Ontario Graduate Student Scholarship, PI, 1999 ($12,500 CDN)



Fall 2018: PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment

Winter 2019: HUMA 5256/PHIL 3907: Environmental Humanities


Fall 2017: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics

Winter 2018: ENVI 3056: Animal Studies


Fall 2016: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics

Winter 2017: 6-month sabbatical


Fall 2015: PHIL 2217: Environmental Ethics

Winter 2016: PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment


Administrative leave (Director, School of the Environment; Chair, Department of Philosophy)


Fall 2013: PHIL 3476: Existentialism

Fall 2013: PHIL 3217: Philosophy of Nature and the Environment (theme: species extinctions)

Winter 2014: PHIL 4007: Honours Seminar (theme: philosophy and biopolitics)


Selected publications:


Edited Journals/Books: