Scott Russell Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders

Professor Emeritus, English

  • Ballantine Hall 442
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Ph.D., Cambridge University, 1971


I am an essayist and fiction writer, chiefly concerned with nature, community, family, ethics, and place. Among the places I care about and write about are my hometown of Bloomington and the forested hill country of southern Indiana, and more generally the Midwest. Among the ethical issues that most concern me are social inequity, militarism, and the degradation of Earth's living systems. While I sometimes address literary subjects — such as the works of Thoreau, Emerson, Aldo Leopold, and Wendell Berry, as well as the American nature writing tradition and the art of the essay — I do so as a working writer rather than as a scholar or critic. The ten books I published during the first half of my teaching career were mostly novels and collections of short stories, including science fiction and historical fiction. The ten books published during the second half of my career have been mostly nonfiction, including documentary narrative, collections of essays, and memoirs. In the past several years I have been involved in adapting for the stage and performing theatrical works derived from two of my early books of fiction, Wilderness Plots and Bad Man Ballad. My most recent book, A Conservationist Manifesto, published in 2009, makes an ecological, ethical, and practical argument for shifting from a culture based on consumption to a culture based on caretaking. I am now at work on two books: the first of them a novel, the second a celebration and defense of the natural and cultural commons. My teaching reflects these interests, ranging from workshops in nonfiction to classes on the craft of fiction, nature writing, the contemporary essay, the ideal of equality, and the fate of the Earth.

Journal Articles and Other Publications

Other books:

The Country of Language (1999)

Hunting for Hope (1998)

Writing from the Center (1995)

Terrarium (1995)

Staying Put (1993)

Secrets of the Universe (1991)

In Limestone Country (1991)

The Paradise of Bombs (1987)

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Selected Honors and Awards:
  • Indiana Humanities Award 
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing
  • Lannan Literary Award
  • Great Lakes Book Award
  • Associated Writing Programs Award in Nonfiction
  • Ohioana Book Award
  • Lieber Award for Distinguished Teaching