English Major Tulane Simpson's Thesis Selected for Posters on the Hill

English Major Tulane Simpson's Thesis Selected for Posters on the Hill

Tulane Simpson, an undergraduate English major and Honors student, has been selected to present their Honors Thesis, “Ecoandrogyny: Environmentalism Beyond the Gender Binary,” as part of Posters on the Hill, an event where undergraduates showcase their research to lawmakers in the hope of influencing policy. Posters on the Hill will be a virtual conference this year, presented April 26-27, 2-4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time each day. Registration is not required, but attendees need to RSVP here to receive the viewing link. 

In addition to being Tulane’s English Honors thesis, “Ecoandrogyny: Environmentalism Beyond the Gender Binary” has also received funding through OSCAR as part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP). Tulane’s advisor for the thesis and OSCAR project was English professor Jessica Hurley.

“I conceived of this project in the Spring 2021 semester while taking Dr. Hurley’s English 308 section, Toxic Humanities,” Tulane explains. “While working on the final paper for that class, I noticed that environmentalism is often classified along the gender binary, as in the case of ecofeminism, and later, ecomasculinity. Both ecofeminism and ecomasculinity link a person’s attitudes toward environmental issues with their (binary) gender. As a nonbinary person myself, I thought it necessary to separate environmentalism from binary conceptualizations of gender so that environmental practice can become more inclusive and accessible to people of all gender identities. Thus, I proposed the concept of ecoandrogyny as a way to separate environmental ideology from binary views of gender.”

"Tulane's research shows how important gender has historically been in shaping how people think about the environment," said Jessica Hurley, Simpson's advisor. "Think about how recycling and fuel-efficient cars have been seen as 'not manly,' for instance, or how women have been cast into eco-caretaker rather than eco-warrior social roles. By developing their framework of ecoandrogyny, Tulane intervenes into this gendered received wisdom and helps us to think about how people from all across the gender spectrum can have access to all of the possible ways of relating to the environment."

Tulane will be one of sixty presenters at Posters in the Hill— selected from hundreds of projects submitted form across the nation.

“Beyond the fact that this is a very prestigious event for undergraduate researchers to share their work with their peers and congressmembers, I am thrilled that people are taking an interest in ecoandrogyny,” they said. “I hope for ecoandrogyny to become a recognized, practical environmental theory, so the fact that other scholars feel that it has merit is very promising. Additionally, it can be difficult for Black, LGBTQ+ students to feel as though they have a voice or a place in academia. While we still have a long way to go on that front, I hope that my inclusion in this event is indicative of a continued positive shift toward academic equity and inclusion.”

Posters on the Hill is presented by the Council on Undergraduate Research, an organization founded in 1978 to promote “high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity opportunities for faculty and students.” The annual event “celebrates the impressive work of the accepted students and supports the messages of the importance of undergraduate research at the federal level.”