Dr. Jessica Martell

Dr. Martell is an interdisciplinary scholar who specializes in literature, food, film, and the environment. Multiple research fellowships in British archives supported her book Farm to Form: Modernist Literature and Ecologies of Food in the British Empire (University of Nevada Press, 2020), which investigates the relationship between the industrial food of empire and the emergence of literary modernisms in Britain and Ireland.

She is also the co-editor of Modernism and Food Studies: Politics, Aesthetics, and the Avant-Garde (University of Florida Press, 2019), a transnational exploration of global food chains and the modernist arts.

Dr. Martell teaches interdisciplinary courses in the Global Studies program and Watauga Residential College. Read more about her WRC students' participation in the 2021 Appalachian Teaching Project, a research grant increasing local food access.


Farm to Form: Modernist Literature and Ecologies of Food in the British Empire. University of Nevada Press, 2020.

"Jessica Martell's Farm to Form: Modernist Literature and Ecologies of Food in the British Empire breaks new ground in modernist studies generally and is a must-read for any ecocritical modernist. I have no doubt that it will shift the way environmentalists approach texts so that the influence of agricultural changes and food politics becomes a regular feature of any ecocritical evaluation of literary modernism, just as animal studies and Anthropocene readings have now become central inquiries."  -Modern Fiction Studies

"Farm to Form: Modernist literature and ecologies of food in the British Empire is a subtle and sophisticated investigation into the British Empire's food system: industrial production, transport, distribution. In essays on Thomas Hardy, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf and Joseph Conrad, we learn about railways and dairy farming, steamships and New Zealand lamb, rationing and food controls during the First World War, and the beginnings of the climate catastrophe we face today. Martell persuasively makes the case for the period's food system, steeped in political and environmental significance, to be considered alongside war, transport, finance and mass communication, as an agent of culture."  -Times Literary Supplement

“The selection of writers and texts alone will make this book a must-read, and no one, to my knowledge, has explored to this extent how the rapid transformation of food production, distribution, and marketing touched the choices that writers made in shaping their work.”  -Bill Conlogue, author of Working the Garden

Modernism and Food Studies: Politics, Aesthetics, and the Avant-Garde. University of Florida Press, 2019. Co-edited with Adam Fajardo and Philip Keel Geheber.

“This delicious collection traverses the globe—potatoes in Ireland, eggs in New Zealand, mangoes in Bengal—and explores the sensuous qualities of artistic modernism in its many forms—cinema, short story, manifesto, cuisine. A bold and clear case for the theoretical and historical importance of food studies to modernism.” —Catherine Keyser, author of Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture


Other Recent Publications

“Vorticism in the Age of Climate Change.” Modernism and the Anthropocene: Material Ecologies of Twentieth-Century Literature. Eds. Jon Hegglund and John McIntyre. Lexington Books, 2021.

“Farm Noir: Agriculture, Empathy, and Genre in The Grapes of Wrath and Border Incident.” John Alton: Essays on the Cinematographer’s Art and CraftEd. Leon Lewis. McFarland & Co., 2020. Co-authored.

“Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Bogfolk’: Apocalypse, Fertility Rites, and Irish History in The Road.” Swamp Souths: Literary and Cultural Ecologies. Eds. Kirsten L. Squint, Eric Gary Anderson, Taylor Hagood, and Anthony Wilson. Louisiana State University Press, 2020.

“Potatoes and the Political Ecology of James Joyce’s Dubliners.” Modernism and Food Studies: Politics, Aesthetics, and the Avant-Garde. Eds. Jessica Martell, Philip Keel Geheber, and Adam Fajardo. University Press of Florida, 2019.

“Food Sovereignty, the Irish Homestead, and the First World War.” Modernist Cultures 13, no. 3 (Autumn 2018): 399-416.  doi:10.3366/mod.2018.0219.

Recent Courses

GLS 4530: Human Rights & Reconciliation in Norther Ireland (Short-Term Study Abroad)
GLS 4100: Borders & Walls
GLS 4000: Manifestos and Global Movements
GLS 2000: Screening the Postcolonial World
WRC 1103: Critical Perspectives on Food

Title: Assistant Professor, Member of the Graduate School Faculty
Department: Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-7223

Fax: (828) 262-6400

Office address
114-LLA, Living Learning Center
Mailing address
305 Bodenheimer Drive
ASU Box 32080
Boone, NC 28608