Louise H. Westling received her B.A. in English from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in 1964 and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon in 1974. After teaching for several years at Oregon State University, she returned to the University of Oregon where she has been ever since. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Tübingen (1981) and was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Heidelberg (1996). A founding member of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment in 1992, she was its President in 1998. She has published five books, edited four others, and published more than thirty scholarly articles and book chapters.
Westling has been active in the University of Oregon's Environmental Studies Program for more than twenty years, serving as a member of the ENVS Executive Committee and Core Faculty member teaching environmental humanities and supervising interdisciplinary graduate student research projects in biology, policy studies, and cultural studies.
Westling’s recent work has been focused on critical animal studies in relation to evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, and ethology, exploring evidence for biological and cultural continuity between humans and other animals. Central to the theoretical aspect of this work is the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, particularly the Nature lectures he gave at the Collège de France from 1957 until his death in 1961. Present research draws connections between Biosemiotics, epigenesis, biocultural environments, and human language.