Ursula Heise received Master's degrees from UC-Santa Barbara and the University of Cologne in Germany before receiving her PhD from Stanford University in 1993. She specializes in contemporary American and European literature and literary theory; her major fields of interest are theories of modernization, postmodernization and globalization, ecology and ecocriticism, literature and science, narrative theory, science fiction, and media theory. Her publications include articles on contemporary authors from the US, Latin America and Western Europe. She is the author of a book on the postmodern novel, Chronoschisms: Time, Narrative, Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press,1997) and, more recently, a book on environmentalism, ecocriticism, and globalization, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford University Press, 2008). Her most recent book, Nach der Natur: Das Artensterben und die moderne Kultur [After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture] came out in Spring 2010 by the German publisher Suhrkamp. She is currently working on The Avantgarde and the Forms of Nature, which deals with the role of biological form in works of the European, Latin American and North American avantgardes of the twentieth century.
In 2011-12 Ursula Heise will be on leave with a Guggenheim Fellowship, but will return in 2012-13 as Director of the Program in Modern Thought & Literature. Currently she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Program in Science, Technology & Society, and an Affiliated Faculty of the Woods Institute for the Environment.