Hilary Cunningham (Scharper)

Hilary Cunningham (Scharper)

Hilary Cunningham (Scharper), Ph.D. (Yale University, 1992)
Associate Professor, St. George Campus

(416) 978-0472
Office: LA 306 (Larkin Building, Trinity College)

Research Keywords: nature and culture; anthropology of animals; multi-species ethnography; theories of nature, the turn-to-the-nonhuman; critical border studies; social ecology

Website: http://www.hilaryscharper.com/

Research Bio

Hilary’s academic work centers on boundary-making as itself a multi-faceted encounter with “nature”—one which ultimately generates certain types of human-nature interactions while excluding or marginalizing other kinds. Because “borders” can encompass geophysical spaces, metaphysical categories, ecological zones, as well as human and non-human actors, Hilary focuses on “nature” itself as a kind of borderscape. To probe notions of “nature” and the “natural,” then—whether at an international security fence, in municipal policies regulating human-animal interactions or in philosophical discussions of what it means to be human—is to critically question acts of enclosure, crossings and restricted mobilities.

Hilary’s current research explores “gated ecologies,” i.e., those nature-borderscapes in which human and nonhuman marginalization (and destruction) unfold as a contingent, interconnected reality.


Social Ecologies and Structural Violence: Boundary-making as Nature-making in a Gated Globe. (With Stephen Scharper.) In The Social Ecology of Border Landscapes. Michele Zebich-Knos and Anna Grichting, eds. Anthem. 2017.

Urban Futures as Ecological Futures. (With Stephen Scharper.) In The Blackwell Companion to Urban Anthropology, edited by Donald Nonini. Blackwell, 2014.

Bordering on the Environmental: Permeabilities, Ecology and Geopolitical Boundaries. In The Blackwell Companion to Border Studies, edited by Thomas M. Wilson and Hastings Donnan. Wiley Blackwell, 2012.

Ecology, Poverty and ‘Possible Urban Worlds’. In The Natural City: Re-envisioning the Built Environment, edited by Ingrid Stefanovic and Stephen B. Scharper. University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Gating Ecology in a Gated Globe: Environmental Aspects of ‘Securing our Borders’. In Borderlands: Ethnographic Approaches to Security, Power and Identity, edited by Hastings Donnan and Tom Wilson. University Press of America, 2010.

Mobilities and Enclosures. (With Josiah McC. Heyman). Special Edition on Borders, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Vol. 11 (3): 289 -30. 2004.

Nations Rebound?: Crossing Borders in a Gated Globe. Special Edition on Borders, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Vol. 11 (3): 329-350, 2004.

Fiction and Literature

Hilary also publishes literary fiction. She writes historical fiction, multi-species fiction and is also associated with a new and emergent literary genre called the “eco-gothic.” Her first novel, “Perdita” was published by Simon & Schuster, Canada (2013); Sourcebooks, USA (2015); La Court Echelle French-language version) (2014). Two other novels: “Lonely Island” and “Eden’s Gates,” are in progress for publication. A third novel, “Uncle Max’s Monkeys” is a current project. “Dream Dresses” Seraphim (2009) was her first collection of short stories.

Graduate Students

Kristina Alda

Emily-Camille Gilbert

Columba Gonzalez Duarte

Rachel Levine

James Gibb