Melusine Martin

    Melusine Martin

    PhD student


    Biographical note

    I am a PhD student under a Cotutelle agreement between the James Cook University and the Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris, France). My research centres on environmental humanities, environmental philosophy and ecofeminism. My aim is to provide a new idea of nature based on a critic of western culture characterized by the human/nature dualism and to analyse how our representations of nature play an essential role in determining our reality. My PhD project all started with this inspiring quote from Max Oelschlaeger (1991): “Do we dare think that we are nature watching nature? And if nature is simply a fabrication of the knowing mind, then we are just watching ourselves.” Melusine is currently a research assistant on the Reef Restoration and Adaption Program led by AIMS with CSIRO, JCU and UQ.

    Research topic

    Nature perceptions in the digital age and the millennials’ feeling of connectedness to their environment in Australia and in the United States in the 21st century

    Research outline

    My generation is personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society we grew up in. The importance of my research, although I won’t personally be one of its subjects, is to focus on how the generation I belong to, and that we call the millennials (born between 1980 and 2000), is dealing with a new, quickly evolving, relationship to nature on a changed planet. Millennials are part of a generation marked by an increased familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies. The objective of the research is to contribute to a new knowledge in understanding nature and wilderness perceptions in western culture and their relation to millennials. This research draws on anthropological and cultural theory literature to examine what we culturally and discursively mean by the human/nature dualism in the digital age. The digital age, also called the information age, is regarded as the modern era in which information has become a commodity that is quickly and widely disseminated and easily available especially through the use of computer technology.

    The research also examines the nature-deficit disorder and its direct impact on our well-being. In particular, the research provides an overall understanding of the human-nature dualism in western discourses on nature protection and the relationship between the western myth of wilderness and the current ecological and social crisis. While the main question being analysed is the relation of thinking to reality, another predominant point in the research is to understand the growing need for a more sensuous and emotional approach to life, an approach that enables us to discover a common middle ground in which everything, from the city to wilderness, can somehow be encompassed in the word ‘home.’

    Research questions

    • Are there relations between today’s ecological crisis and the idea of nature?
    • Are there strengths and limits in defining nature in the digital age?
    • Is nature defined only in western terms in the USA and in Australia today?
    • Does a westerncentric definition of nature promote the nature/culture split?
    • Is there a difference between ‘nature’ and ‘wilderness’?

    Supervisory team

    Dr Maxine Newlands – James Cook University
    Dr Simon Foale - James Cook University
    Dr Olivier Frayssé – Paris-Sorbonne University
    Dr Yves Figueiredo – Paris-Sorbonne University

    Research grants

    James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship

    Conference papers

    Martin, M. (2016). Raw nature/raw power: How climate change challenges women’s ideas about nature. Paper presented at the Eco-feminism, educators and climate change symposium, Cairns, Australia.

    Martin, M. (2017). Urban foraging: Rethinking the human-nature connection in tropical cities. Paper presented at the Tropics of the Imagination Conference, Singapore.

    Martin, M. (2017). The wilderness effect: Healing the human-nature connection in the digital age. Paper presented at the Intersecting Fields Conference, Townsville, Australia

    Martin, M. (2018). Plug into nature: Wellness, nature and technology in the digital age. Eighth International Conference on Health, Wellness and Society, London, United Kingdom.

    Martin, M. (2018). Environmentalism and the machine: Questioning the human/nature dualism for a sustainable future. Paper presented at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Berkeley CA, USA. 

    Martin, M. (2018). The idea of nature in Western culture: Understanding the human-nature connection in the digital age. Paper presented at the Fourteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability, Cairns, Australia.

    Martin, M. (2018). Vers une nouvelle définition de la nature: Comprendre la connexion homme-nature à l'ère du digital. [Towards a new definition of nature: Understanding the human-nature connection in the digital age]. Conférence Sorbonne Actuelle, Paris, France.

    Newlands, M., and Martin,M. (2018). Tweeting the reef revolution: An analysis of public debates on the Great Barrier Reef restoration. Reef Futures 2018.Key Largo, Florida, USA.


    Martin, M. (2018, May 11). Le besoin de nature à l’ère digitale, entre science et philosophie. [The need for nature in the digital era, between science and philosophy]. The Conversation.

    Martin, M. (2018). When nature hurts: Solastalgia in Cairns and its suburbs. Ecotone (CAFNEC), 38(3), 5-6.

    Martin, M. (2018). Urban foraging: Going back to nature in the city. Green Space Our Place, 20, 16.  

    Martin, M. (2018). Urban foraging: Rethinking the human-nature connection in cities. eTropic, 17(1), 149-163. doi:10.25120/etropic.17.1.2018.3647

    Martin, M. (2018, Sept 3). Internet: Les bienfaits de la déconnexion. [Internet: The virtues of unplugging]. The Conversation.

    Martin, M. (2019) La nature, un remède au mal urbain. [Nature as a remedy to urban life]. The Conversation.

    Video & Photograph

    Martin, M. (Producer and Director). (2016). Nature [Motion picture]. Scientific Short-Film Festival ‘Les Chercheurs Font Leur Cinéma’. Paris: Doc Up Association.

    Martin, M.  (2017). ALTAR video interview.

    Martin, M. (2018). Environmentalism and the machine: Questioning the human/nature dualism for a sustainable future.

    Martin, M. (2018). Terrains de recherche [Research fields].


    Martin, M. (2018). Naturally referenced [painting]. Arts & Sciences exhibition. Paris: Doc Up Association.


    Interview with Katherine Kokkonen for Brighter (2017) - How does screen time affect green time?

    Teaching experience

    French as a Foreign Language, English as a Foreign Language

    Extended Profile

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