Skip to content

Henry Wilcox

Title of Program: Critical Environmental Theory and Structural Violence

E-mail Address: hwilcox2@vols.utk.edu

Hometown: Brentwood, TN

Year: 3rd Year

Anticipated Graduation Date: Fall 2018

Description of Program: Critical Environmental Theory broadly refers to critical theories of society that attempt to illuminate the relationship between advanced industrial power and the domination of nature in connection with ideological issues of race, class, gender, species, as well as a range of other political standpoints. Drawing inpart upon Marx’s critical social theory, which made its own nascent gestures towards environmental critique, Frankfurt School theorists analyzed how a dialectical relationship existed between the societal domination of external nature (i.e., the environment) and societal domination of internal nature (i.e., the psyche). My particular program focuses on contemporary critical theory, political economy, and human ecology. Studying critical theories with environmental praxis requires incorporation of critical race theory, feminist theory, queer theory, and other critical social theories because of differential effects of environmental issues and dyanmic responses related to culture. Focusing on contemporary environmental injustices and social movements, my particular interest primarily draws upon interrelational works of Herbert Marcuse, Jürgen Habermas, John Bellamy Foster, Moishe Postone, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Judith Butler, Angela Davis, and Michel Foucault.

Departmental Emphases: Sociology, Poltical Science, Psychology, History, Geography,    Environmental Science, Economics, Philosophy.

Faculty Mentor: Professor Harry F. Dahms

Plans after graduation (career, graduate/professional school, etc.): After graduation, I plan to first work towards a masters degree abroad before returning to the states for a doctoral program. After receiving my doctorate, I plan to pursue a career in education and research. I would like to teach as a professor and continue research into the many topics that fascinate me.

Other Academic Interests: Climate Change; Climate Refugees; Economic History; German Language and History; Public Policy; Science and Social Value; Critiques of Neoliberalism, Neo-Colonialism, and Modern Imperialism; Gender and Sexuality.

Study Abroad: Possibly in Germany or the UK

Research Experiences or Internships: Studied “Differential Responses of iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes to Uniaxial Strain Depending on Disease Statues” in 2014 at Vanderbilt University. Reasearch was published in the Journal of Biomechanics. Studied changes in induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocyte (hiPSC-CMs) integrin expression associated with healthy and dilated cardiomyopathy mechanotransduction (2014). Studied the mechanisms of adaptation to a secular society implemented by the Methodist Church (2015).

Part-time employment; Hobbies; Campus Clubs/Activities: Chancellor’s Honors Program; Sustainability Coordinator for Smokey’s Pantry; VP of SPEAK (Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville); Director of TEDxUTK Speaker Committee; VP of DSAC (Dean’s Student Advisory Committee); voting member of SEIC (Students’ Environmental Initiatives Committee); Executive Board member of SEAT (Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee); ONSF Society of Fellows; UT Diversity Matters Coalition; Environment & Sustainability Committee of SGA; SAB (Student Advisory Board); FRN (Food Recovery Network); German Club.


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.