Professor Rigby joins the University from Monash University in Australia, where she was also Professor of Environmental Humanities.
Environmental Humanities is an emerging area of interdisciplinary research that examines the relationship between human culture and the physical environment by bringing research in philosophy, politics, art and literature, language, religion, history, human geography and anthropology, into conversation with the natural sciences.
In her new role, Professor Rigby will be responsible for shaping the Environmental Humanities research strategy at the University, securing external funding and raising the profile of the research nationally and internationally.
Professor Rigby, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, has particular expertise in ecocriticism, ecophilosophy, and ecotheology. She also holds a PhD in German and Comparative Literature from Monash University, and an MA and BA (Hons), 1st Class in Germanic Studies from the University of Melbourne.
Professor Rigby’s appointment comes as Bath Spa University is establishing a world-leading research Centre in Environmental Humanities. This is being driven by a strong academic team, extensive collaboration with other institutions and wide-spread participation in scholarly debates on the subject at international conferences.
Professor Rigby said: “Bath Spa University has a wonderful reputation as a place of inspirational learning with a long-standing strength in environmental literary studies, which is a core area of my own work, along with excellent researchers in other relevant fields, including human geography, philosophy and biology. Australia has been at the forefront of the development of the Environmental Humanities, in part because the mismatch between settler and Indigenous environmental perceptions and practices has meant that ‘nature’ could never be taken for granted there.
‘I’m looking forward to bringing that understanding with me to Europe, whilst learning more myself about ‘old world’ cultural ecologies. It’s an exciting time to be joining the team at Bath Spa University.”