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Barry Albert Wood

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Associate Professor

Barry Albert Wood
  • Phone: (713) 743-2963
  • Email:
  • Office: 232C Roy Cullen Building
  • CV

Barry Wood, a Canadian by birth, is a naturalized American with a B.A. from University of Toronto, M.A. from University of British Columbia, and an interdisciplinary doctorate (English and American literature, Humanities, and Religious Studies) from Stanford University.

Publishing History

Wood’s publications began fifty years ago with a Canadian teaching edition of Huckleberry Finn (1968). He authored his first book during his M.A. program, his second during his doctoral program. He has edited Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and His Critics (1980) which earned an Ontario Arts Council Award; his manuscript Fictional History, Fabricated Power, is now under review for publication. Wood now has more than 60 books, articles, reprints, book chapters, and reviews, which address four areas: literature, the environment, big history, and education.

Life Beyond the Ivory Tower

In 1972-73, Wood hitchhiked and camped a total of 14,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada. Subsequently, he earned a White Water River Guide License and has run rapids in California, Idaho, and Oregon. During four years in Southeast Asia (1987-1991), Wood served as a leader for the Boy Scouts of America, supervising boys during numerous camping and hiking trips in the Malaysian jungles and leading SCUBA dives in the South China Sea. He has climbed mountains in British Columbia, California, Colorado, and Borneo where he climbed Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain (13,435 feet) in Southeast Asia.

Professional Affiliations

Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA), the National Geographic Society (NGS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Sierra Club (SC), and the International Big History Association (IBHA) on which he currently serves as a board member

Research Interests

Wood’s primary teaching field is American literature, including a course he developed in Native American literature (ENGL 3349), taught each spring semester. Publications on the environment have continued since the First Earth day (1970). An additional focus since 2009 has been the emerging field of Big History, the International Big History Association (IBHA) of which he is a founding member, and his UH version of Big History—the core-curriculum course COSMIC NARRATIVES (ILAS 2360/ ENGL 2340). Most of his thinking and research now centers on a single question: Just what are we doing and what should we be doing here spinning on a tilted planet round a star?

Publications: Books (authored or edited)

Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and His Critics (Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1980), 278 pp. [Edited collection of critical essays] Winner: Ontario Arts Council Award.

The Only Freedom (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972), 190 pp.[Eastern “liberation” in a Western context]

The Magnificent Frolic (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970), 223 pp. [Theology, linguistics and the “death of God” movement]

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Edited: Barry Wood (Toronto: Clarke-Irwin, 1968).

Publications: Reprinted Essays in Norton Critical Editions

“Thoreau’s Narrative Art in ‘Civil Disobedience’,” in Walden and Civil Disobedience, 2nd edition. Ed. William Rossi. (New York: Norton, 1992), 421-428.

“Narrative Action and Structural Symmetry in Pudd’nhead Wilson,” in Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins, 2nd edition.  Edited by Sidney Berger (New York: Norton, 2005), 336-347.
[This article appeared also in the 1st edition (1980), 370-381.]

Publications: Book Chapters and Reprints

“From the Bubble to the Forest: Nature School Environmental Education.” Scheduled for inclusion in Selected Papers from the 9th WEEC Conference. Editor: David Zandvliet (Amsterdam: Sense Publications, 2018).

“Petrotemporality at Siccar Point: James Hutton’s Discovery of the Deep-Time Narrative.” Scheduled for inclusion in 50th anniversary volume, The Study of Time, XVI (2018) honoring the work of the physicist J. T. Fraser on time and his founding of the International Society for the Study of Time (ISST).

“Big History, Big Science, and Cosmic Narratives: Variant Approaches to the Big Story.” From Big Bang to Galactic Civilizations: A Big History Anthology, 3 vols. Ed. Barry Rodrigue. (Delhi: Primus Press, 2016), Vol. 2, 81-90.

“Lowry’s Under the Volcano,” in Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano: A Selection of Critical Essays, ed. Gordon Bowker (London: Macmillan, 1987), 140-147. Revised Introduction from Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and His Critics (1980).

“Thoreau’s Narrative Art in ‘Civil Disobedience’,” in Henry David Thoreau, Ed. Harold Bloom (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987), 173-181.

“The Growth of the Soul: Coleridge’s Dialectical Method and the Strategy of Emerson’s Nature,” in Emerson’s NATURE: Origin, Growth, Meaning. Second Edition. Eds. Merton Sealts, Jr., Alfred R. Ferguson. (Carbondale, Southern Illinois Press, 1979), 194-208.

Publications: Selected Articles

“Refueling the Magic Furnace: Kilonova 2017 Rewrites the Nucleosynthesis Story.” Scheduled for publication in the Big History Journal, Fall 2018.

“Imagining the Unimaginable: Narratives of the Big Bang—Time, Space, Matter, Energy.” Big History Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 2018), 1-13.

“Conversion of the Earth/Construction of the Technosphere: An Intractable Environmental Issue.” The International Journal of Arts and Sciences (IJAS), Vol. 10.7 (December 2017).

“The Seamless Robe of Nature,” Origins: Bulletin of the International Big History Association (IBHA), Vol. VII, No. 1 (February 2017), 3-9.

“From Atoms to Atman: The Grand Narrative and the Emergence of Spirit,” in Our Place in the Cosmos: Big History and Universal Consciousness. Special Issue of the International Journal for Transformation of Consciousness. (January-June 2017), Vol. 3, No. 1, 246-260.

“Underlying Temporalities of Big History,” KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 2015), 157-178. [Special Big History issue]

“Big Story Narratives: Reframing K-12 Science Education,” Proceedings of the 13th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education (HICE). (Honolulu, Hawaii, January 2015), 1966-1991.

“Bridging the ‘Two Cultures’: The Humanities, Sciences, and the Grand Narrative,” The International Journal of Humanities Education, Vol. 10. (2013), 44-55

“Malcolm Lowry’s Metafiction: The Biography of a Genre,” Contemporary Literature. Vol. 19 (Winter 1978), 1-25.

“In Search of Sainthood: Myth, Magic and Metaphor in Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business,” Critique, Vol. 19 (December 1977), 23-32.

“Thoreau’s Narrative Art in ‘Civil Disobedience’,” Philological Quarterly.  Vol. 60, No. 1 (Winter 1981), 105-115.

“Thoreau’s Hindu Quotations in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.” with Ellen M. Raghavan. American Literature, Vol. 51 (March 1979), 90-95.

“Emerson and Milton,” A Milton Encyclopedia, 6 vols. Ed. William B. Hunter. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell Press, 1978. Vol. 3, 46-47.

“The Edge of Eternity: Malcolm Lowry’s ‘Forest Path to the Spring’,” Canadian Literature, No. 70 (Autumn 1976), 51-58.

“The Growth of the Soul: Coleridge’s Dialectical Method and the Strategy of  Emerson’s Nature,” Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA). Vol. 91, No. 3 (May 1976), 385-397.

Publications: Book Reviews

Genes, Ancestry, and Prehistoric Sexual Politics. Big History Journal, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 2018) 134-137. [Review of Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived (New York: The Experiment, 2017)].

Earth’s Catastrophic Past: Asteroid Impacts and Mass Extinctions. [Review of  Michael Rampino, Cataclysm: A New Geology for the 21st Century.] Big History Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer 2018).

Wall Charts, Timelines, and World Views: A Big History Perspective on the Past. Origins, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2018), 2-5.

Quarks, Culture, Combogenesis. [Review of Tyler Volk, From Quarks to Culture (Columbia University Press, 2017)]. Science, (Jan 19, 2018).

Review of Emerson: Prophecy, Metamorphosis, Influence. Ed. David Levin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1975. The New England Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 2 (1976), 330-332.

Skinner Bones. [Review of B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, 1971.] The Stanford Daily. October 22, 1971.

Confusion of Wealth and Symbols [Review of Alan Watts, Does It Matter? 1969.] The Stanford Daily. April 20, 1970.

Biocides and Silent Spring [Review of Rachel Carson, Silent Spring. 1963).] The Stanford Daily. April 3, 1970.

The Environmental Reading List [Review of The Environmental Handbook (1970) and other environmental books]. The Stanford Daily. April 15, 1970.

Selected Conference Papers, Invited Presentations

An Emerging Theme in Education. Cosmic Education, Big History, and Cosmic  Narratives: 2nd Conference in Academic Research in Education (CARE). Las Vegas, Nevada. January 30-31, 2018.

Incorporating the Social Sciences into the New Story. 21st American Association of Behavioral and Social Science (AABSS) Conference. January 30-31, 2018.

Getting Out of Now: Atemporality, Petrotemporality, and the Construction of Earth and Cosmic History. 31st Society of Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) Conference, Arizona State University, Nov. 9-12, 2017.

Technosphere: Invisible Consumption in Plain View. 93rd annual Society for Values in Higher Education (SVHE) Conference. Boston, MA. July 12-16, 2017.

When Cuba was Confused with Japan. 14th Annual Lone Star College (LSC) International Education Conference (IEC); Theme: Cuba. Woodlands, Texas. April 21, 2017.

African Genesis: The Centrality of Africa in the Narrative of Human Origins. 41st Annual National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) Conference, Houston March 8-12, 2017.

The Iroquois Federation Great Law of Peace: Eurocentric Denial of Its Influence on the American Political System. International Organization for Social Science and Behavioral Research (IOSSBR) Conference. San Antonio, October 30-31, 2016.

Narrative Learning and the Universe Story: Sequencing the Analytic Fragmentation of Knowledge. International Organization for Social Science and Behavioral Research (IOSSBR) Conference. San Antonio. October 30-31, 2016.

The Discovery of Geotemporality: James Hutton and Siccar Point. Invited Presentation for the 16th Triennial International Society for the Study of Time (ISST) Conference. University of Edinburgh, June 26-July 2, 2016.

Technosphere and Psychosphere: Why is it So Hard to See and Understand Our Environmental Problems? 13th International Education Conference (IED).  Lone Star College (LSC), Woodlands, Texas. 46th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 23, 2016.

Charlemagne the Great and King Arthur: Literary Uses of Trojan Ancestry, Gospel Discipleship, and a Christian Relics in Medieval French and English Kingship Cycles. 2nd Medieval and Renaissance Conference, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas. April 7-9, 2016.

“So Perfectly Indianized”: One Way Border Crossings—Children Refusing to Leave the Indians. American Literature Association (ALA) Symposium. San Antonio, Texas, February 25-27, 2016. [Conference Theme: Boundaries and Borders].

Defining Cognitive Abuse: Causes, Characteristics, Effects. International Organization for Social Science and Behavioral Research (IOSSBR) Conference. San Antonio, Texas. November 3-4, 2014.

Consilient Science: A Transdisciplinary Template. 36th Annual Association  for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) Conference. Michigan State University, East Lansing. October 16-19, 2014.

A Big History Novelist: James A. Michener. Second International Big History Association (IBHA) Conference. Dominican University, San Rafael, CA. August 8, 2014,

Narrative as Cognitive Endowment and Appropriate Mode of Delivery for Big History. 20th Annual World History Association (WHA) Conference. Capital Normal University, Beijing, China, July 7–10, 2011.

What is Literature? From Fact to Fiction to Symbol. Invited Presentation. Institut  Teknologi Mara (ITM) and State University of New York (SUNY). Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. February 22, 1991.

The Irish in Canada: The Case of Lifford, Ontario. 10th Annual British Association  for Canadian Studies (BACS) Conference, University of Edinburgh, Apr 1985.

Forts, Mills, Ports, Villages, Towns: A Taxonomy of Ontario Settlements, 1650-1920. Southwest Association for Canadian Studies (SWACS) Conference, University of Texas at Austin. March 1984.

Recovering Lifford History. Southwest Association for Canadian Studies (SWACS) Conference, North Texas State University, Denton, Texas, March 1983.

Narrative Rhythm and Narrative Synthesis. Modern Language Association Annual Conference, New York. Folklore/Narrative Section. December 27–31, 1980.

The Inpoverished Environment of Man in Space. Invited UH faculty speaker. The Future of Space Exploration [Conference held during the last manned Apollo Moon landing.] December 14-15, 1972.

Freedom—Divine and Human. Seminar [ Invited ] with Alan Watts. Sausalito, California. July 1–2, 1972 [Based on forthcoming book: The Only Freedom,].

Freedom in a Universe with No Bottom. International Student Center, Stanford University. 3 April 1972. Invited presentation.

Experience, Integration, and Freedom. Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. Denver, Colorado. 13 September 1971. Invited presentation.

The Creating Universe: Christian Theology in the Light of the Whorfian Hypothesis. U.B.C. Linguistic Circle. Penthouse, Henry Angus Building., University of British Columbia. Thursday, February 23, 1967.

Selected Editorials (from 24 published)

Ecology and Survival. (1st Earth Day Editorial). The Stanford Daily. April 1, 1970.

Desert America Soon? (1st Earth Day Editorial). The Stanford Daily. April 9, 1970.

Crowding and the Car Crush. (1st Earth Day Editorial). The Stanford Daily, April 10, 1970.

The Perpetual Crisis. (1st Earth Day Editorial). The Stanford Daily. October 13, 1970.

Myths about Population. (Editorial). The Stanford Daily. January 12, 1971.

The Day the Music Died. (Don McLean lyrics). The Stanford Daily. January 28, 1972.

Radio Programs (BBC Belfast; KFJC Stanford, 89.7)

The Irish at Lifford, Ontario. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio program. Based on interviews by Patrick Lowry (BBC, Belfast) at Lifford, Ontario. July 10-25, 1986. Aired by BBC Belfast, January 1987

Firsthand and Secondhand Religion. (29 minutes.). KFJC. Stanford, April 23, 1972.

The Only Freedom (29 minutes). KFJC. Stanford, April 30, 1972.

Experience , Integration, and Freedom (29 minutes). KFJC. Stanford, May 14, 1972.

Two Crises: Ecology and Identity (29 minutes). KFJC. Stanford, May 28, 1972.

Catalog Courses Created at University of Houston

2340 (ILAS 2360): Cosmic Narratives

3346: Classics of Children’s Literature

3347: Classics of Adolescent Literature

3349: Native American Literature

Offered 11 times (2011-2018)

Offered 11 times (1992-2011)

Offered 10 times (1993-2010)

Offered 11 times (2006-2018)

Other Courses, Undergraduate and Graduate

3327: British Literature to 1797

3350: American Literature to 1865

3352: 19th Century American Fiction

7381: History of Narrative/ Narrative Theory

3328: British Literature since 1797

3351: American Literature since 1865

3324: Development of the Novel

American Studies (SUNY/ITM Malaysia, 1988-1991):

AMS 301: American History & Culture to 1865 (8 times, SUNY/ITM, Malaysia)

AMS 302: American History & Culture since 1865 (8 times, SUNY/ITM, Malaysia)

English Graduate Library (2nd floor, Roy Cullen Bldg.)

In 1977, Wood divided the graduate mail room from what was then a lounge to create the present graduate library, then began the library collection with faculty donations and journal subscriptions. The library has since served several additional purposes.