School of Politics and International Relations

Image of Elena Colombo

Elena Colombo

Doctoral Researcher,



Elena is currently pursuing her PhD in Politics at the School of Politics and International Relations of the University of Nottingham. Her PhD research investigates the topic of green utopianism, with a particular focus on ecofeminism, and looks at contemporary climate change utopian/dystopian fiction as the possible link between environmental philosophies and lived experiments. She is currently associated with the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) and the Nottingham Centre for Normative Political Theory (CONCEPT) at the School.

Elena completed both her BA and her MA in European and Extra-European Languages and Literatures at Università degli Studi di Milano, in Italy, graduating with distinction. Her MA dissertation dealt with utopia and gender in Octavia Butler.

Expertise Summary

Utopian and dystopian fiction

Science fiction

Comparative literature

Feminist utopian fiction


Environmental philosophies

Politics in fiction

Research Summary

Research Question: what is the relationship between theory, fiction and practice in vernacular ecological politics?

Utopian and dystopian fiction has always acted as an arena for political and social debates; in the last three decades, more and more novels have been set in a context of climate change apocalypse: nowadays, the ecological theme has become a steady and pervasive presence in this genre. Similarly, environmental philosophies have grown and changed; society, too, has witnessed the evolution of different "utopian" lived experiments.

This research aims to establish similarities and differences between environmental theories, utopian/dystopian contemporary fiction, and social practices: its goal is to distinguish possible influences through the three levels and determine if utopian/dystopian literature can be considered as a bridge between theory and practice.


Professor Lucy Sargisson

Professor Steven Fielding

School of Politics and International Relations

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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