Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Abigail Bleach

Dr Abigail Bleach is an IAS Quirk Postdoctoral Fellow in Languages of the Anthropocene

Abigail Bleach works on Old English literature and ecocritical theory. Her research focuses on the temporality of ecological crisis (and of the epistemological and existential crises that accompany it).

After completing a BA in English (University of Cambridge) and an MA in Medieval Studies (University of York), Abigail undertook her PhD at the University of Manchester. Her doctoral thesis, which situated Old English texts in conversation with contemporary ecofiction and ecophilosophy, offered a reexamination of the relationship between the early medieval past and the climate crises of the present. She is developing it into a monograph, tentatively titled Troubling Times: Old English, Ecocriticism, and the Temporality of Ecological Crisis.

Drawing on the interdisciplinary field of nuclear semiotics, her IAS postdoctoral project considers the limits and potential of using narrative—in its literary forms and as it inheres in inhuman matter—to communicate risk through deep time. She is particularly intrigued by the ways in which medieval-ish materials are repurposed in attempts to reckon with unthinkable futures, as in Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.

Together with her IAS postdoctoral colleague Cydney Phillip, Abigail will co-convene a Languages of the Anthropocene research cluster, facilitating explorations of how language and narrative represent, negotiate, and reshape more-than-human ecologies in times of emergency.