Yanoula Athanassakis is Special Assistant to Provost-designate of NYU, Katherine E. Fleming, Co-founder of the NYU Environmental Humanities Series at New York University, and Instructor in Comparative Literature.
In Spring 2016 she taught Comp. Lit. 800, “Being Vegan: the literature of environmental justice.” She has co-organized a number of panels and symposia on topics ranging from food studies to online editing in academic journals and is currently co-facilitating a series of environmental and sustainability events at New York University including Elizabeth Kolbert in conversation with Eric Klinenberg on The Sixth Extinction and environmental catastrophes (February 10th, 2016). Along with Vice Provost Ulrich Baer and Humanities Center Director Gwynneth C. Malin, she is organizing a number of events in Spring 2016, notably, a screening of Cowspiracy with a Q&A panel featuring Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn (March 8th, 2016). Along with Nicolas Delon, Athanassakis is moderating “Vegan Athletes” on March 22nd, 2016, a conversation between two legendary athletes and a medical specialist: the NFL’s David Carter, ultra athlete Rich Roll, animal activist, multi-sport athlete, and entrepreneur, Dominick Thompson (@domzthompson), and NYU’s own specialist on plant-based nutrition, Dr. Michelle McMacken. The NYU Environmental Humanities Initiative is working closely with Environmental Studies, the Animal Studies Initiative, the Sustainability Task Force, the Institute for Public Knowledge.
A former American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow (2012-2014) and Literature Fellow at UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies (2011-2012), her research and teaching interests include American literature, the environmental humanities, animal studies, food studies, race and ethnic studies, gender studies, globalization, and environmental justice. Athanassakis is currently working on her first book, Ecocriticism and the Material Turn: Environmental Justice in Contemporary U.S. Narratives, for Routledge’s Environmental Humanities Series.
Predating her administrative responsibilities in NYU’s Office of the Provost she served as Co-director of UCSB’s Travel Study to Greece Program from 2003-2011 and has held a number of other administrative positions at different universities.
Having served as Associate Managing Editor for Special Forums for The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) from 2007-2012, Athanassakis is deeply invested in thinking about how academia is read in popular discourse and how or why some research on complex topics gains traction while others does not. She has worked in publishing writing and editing for Islands Magazine, Tinta Latina, the SB Independent, Ninth Letter Literary Magazine, and the Huffington Post. Athanassakis is fluent in English, Greek, and Italian.