Mark Simpson, PhD (Duke), MA (Alberta), BA (Hons) (Alberta)

Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept
4-23 Humanities Centre
11121 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

Energy Humanities Cultural Studies Mobility Theory US Literature + Culture


I have a number of research projects ongoing, including a co-authored book on the political philosophy of energy impasse and a book on the postcard craze in the US circa 1900. I am a principal investigator on the Energy Humanities theme in the Future Energy Systems research network at the U of A, and also one of three founding collaborators in EFS on the international research collective After Oil: Explorations and Experiments in the Future of Energy, Culture, and Society. In my spare time, I love to ride my road bike and to make music with my band.


My ongoing research concerns mobility, material culture, and energy. An Americanist by training, I am happy to work with graduate students on a range of topics in literary and cultural studies, particularly ones focused on aspects of the long American nineteenth century; on popular forms; on labor and class; on the politics of mobility; on petrocultures.


My undergraduate teaching regularly includes courses on American literature from first contact to 1865, American ideologies and technologies, print culture studies and the history of the book, and theories of class and ideology. I have taught graduate seminars on naturalism, new historicism, and new materialism; work and play in postbellum culture; embodiment in revolutionary America; American empire; crises in the US public sphere; culture war and class struggle in America; mobility regimes; maritime modernities; resource aesthetics.


ENGL 221 - Reading Class and Ideology

An introduction to dynamics of class and ideology in literary and other cultural texts, and to the critical concepts and methods key to their study. Prerequisite: 6 units of junior ENGL, or 3 units of junior ENGL and 3 units of junior WRS.

ENGL 357 - Topics in American Studies

Prerequisite: 6 units of junior ENGL, or 3 units of junior ENGL and 3 units of junior WRS. Note: variable content course which may be repeated if topics vary.

ENGL 426 - Studies in Literary and Cultural Histories

Prerequisites: 12 units of senior ENGL with a minimum of 6 units at the 300 level. Note: variable content course which may be repeated.

ENGL 800 - PhD Colloquium

ENGL 801 - PhD Colloquium

Browse more courses taught by Mark Simpson

Featured Publications

After Oil Collective

Minneapolis. 2022 April;

Mark Simpson and Imre Szeman

South Atlantic Quarterly. 2021 January; 120 (1):77-89

Mark Simpson and Jeff Diamanti

Radical Philosophy. 2018 June; 2 (Series 2) (2):10

Mark Simpson

Petrocultures: Oil, Politics, Culture (McGill-Queen's University Press). 2017 June;

Literary/Liberal Entanglements: Toward a Literary History for the Twenty-First Century

Corrinne Harol and Mark Simpson, editors

University of Toronto Press. 2017 January;

Mark Simpson

Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham UP). 2017 January;

Petrocultures Research Group

University of Alberta. 2016 October;

Brent Ryan Bellamy, Michael O'Driscoll, and Mark Simpson

Postmodern Culture. 2016 January; 26 (2)

"Obama's Playlist: Materializing Transnational Desire at the CBC"

Mark Simpson

Material Cultures in Canada (Wilfred UP 2015). 2015 January;

"Postcard Culture in America: The Traffic in Traffic"

Mark Simpson

US Popular Print Culture, 1860-1920 (Oxford UP). 2012 January;

Mark Simpson

University of Minnesota Press. 2004 January;