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The Cybercene Lab
Multispecies Healing and Habitability in a Transformed World

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   This new humanities-centered lab proposes the Cybercene as a new gathering principal to study the current ecocultural era in our planetary history. As lands burn, oceans boil, species go extinct almost unnoticed on a daily basis and political/economic/cultural conflicts (local, regional and global) multiply, we aim to explore interdisciplinary yet realistic pathways towards healing and restored habitability.


   Roughly encompassing the first two decades of the 21st century and still ongoing, the Cybercene is defined in a forthcoming book by Professor Vetri Nathan as "a pivotal period in which online on-screen “realities,” digital representations and narratives  have quickly and effectively transformed identities and substituted the value of actual bodies and living habitats." We believe that naming, understanding and addressing this transformation can allow us to locate and deploy more effective pathways to mitigate some of the major crises, both natural and cultural, of our era.

Our lab aims to depart from this definition of the newest sub-era of the Anthropocene to establish two main "clusters" of collaborative research, teaching, and community engagement in the Environmental Humanities. Please add and follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram for weekly news on these projects!


CLUSTER 1: Cybercene Studies (CS): in which we examine theoretical frameworks that will help us better understand the intimate yet complex connections between virtual-vs-embodied ecocultural identities and relationships. How do Cybercene mediatic representations, narratives and fantasies directly or indirectly shape our individual and collective approaches, attitudes and practices towards actual lives, bodies and ecosystems?



CLUSTER 2: Multispecies Healing and Habitability (MHH): This research cluster encourages transcultural and collaborative explorations to locate humanistic pathways that can counter  corrosive ecocultural practices. We believe that qualitative and holistic approaches are crucial to move us towards global multispecies healing, justice and habitability.

CLICK HERE to explore the ecosystem of current and future projects  organized around these two main clusters (Cybercene Studies and Multispecies Healing and Habitability) at The Cybercene Lab.





   We at The Cybercene Lab firmly believe that major ecological and socio-cultural crises of our times (such as climate change, manufactured culture wars, challenges to democratic norms, increased inequality, the planet's sixth mass-extinction) are not separate phenomena but present important interconnections. We also believe that these crises must be urgently mitigated by deeper engagement between scholars in the humanities and other disciplines.


   For this reason, our work at the lab is directed not only towards other humanities scholars, but also towards leaders, non-humanist scholars of environmental, cultural and digital culture, policy makers who would like to include important humanities-based perspectives into their planning and new initiatives. Even more importantly, we hope the lab will become a space to learn from actual practitioners (the bodies on the ground) who are diligently striving towards multispecies ecocultural healing and habitability within their own communities globally.

   Please excuse us while we build our complete site with links and more information (Coming soon)

   Public outreach of our research will be found at the associated website: (Coming soon)

Meet the Cybercene Team!

P.I./Faculty Director

Dr. Vetri Nathan

Mellon Associate Professor of Global Racial Justice
Associate Professor of Italian

Rutgers University

Vetri Nathan's research and teaching interests include the Environmental and Public Humanities,  Global Indigeneity, Race, Migrations and Postcolonial Theory, Animal, Food and Media Studies.

His work explores global questions situated in the interstices of the Environmental Humanities, Media Studies, Multispecies Studies and the Public Humanities. His forthcoming book project "The Cybercene: Multispecies Healing and Habitability in a Transformed World" takes an unusual pathway to being researched and written, as it is intimately entangled with the birth and research activities of this new lab.

Born in Mumbai, India, he holds his Ph.D. from Stanford University (2009). His initial research focused specifically on Italy's fraught response to migration from the Global South of the world. His first book, Marvelous Bodies: Italy's New Migrant Cinema (2017, Purdue University Press) explores thirteen key full-length Italian movies released between 1990 and 2010 that treat this remarkable moment of cultural role reversal through a plurality of styles. He continues to explore questions related to ecocultural diversity and sustainability in Italy, Europe and the Mediterranean.

Advisory Committee

Made up of a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars, the advisory committee provides intellectual and practical insights and advice for its future growth and activities. Please click on the members' names below to read about their work!

Dr. Marco Armiero, ICREA Research Professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Dr. Paola Gambarota, Associate Professor of Italian, Rutgers University 
Dr. Massimiliano Gaudiosi, Research Scholar, Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II"
Dr. Camilla Hawthorne, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz
Dr. Jorge Marcone, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University
Dr. Michelle Stephens, Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, Professor of English, Rutgers University
Graduate Research Assistants

Graduate student research is fundamental to the work of the lab. As funding allows, we seek to have an interdisciplinary range of students/young researchers work towards innovative research pathways here at The Cybercene Lab!
Diletta Pasetti, Lab Manager
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Check in soon for updates as we grow our team!

(Coming Soon...)

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