Professor Alasdair Cochrane, Professor of Political Theory
Sheffield University staff page
Alasdair Cochrane is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Sheffield and co-director of ShARC. The bulk of his research examines the ways in which political institutions, structures and processes can be reimagined to better serve the interests and rights of sentient animals.
Alasdair has written three books on these issues: Animal Rights without Liberation (Columbia University Press, 2012), An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and Sentientist Politics: A Theory of Global Inter-Species Justice (Oxford University Press, 2018).
His current project, entitled ‘Beastly Cosmopolitanism : A Global Theory of Inter-Species Justice’, explores the nature of our international obligation to animals, and asks what types of institutions might best serve them.
Professor Robert McKay, Professor of Contemporary Literature
Sheffield University staff page
Robert McKay is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Sheffield and co-director of ShARC. His research focuses on the animal politics of modern and contemporary literature, film and theory, with further interests in contemporary art. He has long been involved in interdisciplinary animal studies, having convened one of the field’s early gatherings, the Millennial Animals conference at Sheffield in 2000.
Robert is series co-editor for Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature and Assistant Editor (Literature) for Society and Animals. He is currently working on two projects: a study on the place of animal ethics in American culture, politics and law 1930-1960 and a monograph titled Animal Form: The Politics of Species in Contemporary Literature.
Dr John Miller, Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Sheffield University staff page
John Miller is a Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature and co-director of ShARC. Having completed his PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2009, John then held postdoctoral research fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, and at the University of Northern British Columbia. He also held a teaching fellowship at the University of East Anglia.
John is President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK and Ireland) and co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature.
John's research focuses on writing about animals, ecology and empire from the nineteenth century to the present, with particular emphasis on the late Victorian period. His first monograph Empire and the Animal Body (Anthem, 2012) explores the representation of exotic animals in Victorian and Edwardian adventure fiction. His second book is the co-authored volume Walrus for the Reaktion Animal series.
John is currently near to completing a monograph titled Victorians in Furs: Fiction, Fashion and Activism and has started work on his next project, A Literary History of In Vitro Meat which examines the origins of cultured flesh in the late nineteenth century and traces its development in imaginative literature through to the present. John is also contributing co-editor of The Dictionary of Neoliberal Terms (Spirit Duplicator) and has recently edited a collection of stories about tattooing for the British Library.
Dr Katherine Ebury, Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature
Sheffield University staff page
Katherine Ebury is Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature at the University of Sheffield. Her first monograph, Modernism and Cosmology, appeared in 2014, and she is the co-editor (with Dr James Alexander Fraser) of Joyce’s Non-Fiction Writings: Outside His Jurisfiction, which appeared with Palgrave in 2018. Her articles and chapters have appeared in journals such as Irish Studies Review, Joyce Studies Annual, Journal of Modern Literature, and Society and Animals.
She is especially interested in intersections between animal studies and literature and science methodology, as well as the intersection between human and nonhuman rights discourses. She is currently working on an AHRC-funded new book project on modern literature and the death penalty, including a chapter on psychoanalytic and anthropological understandings of the totem animal in relation to sacrifice.
Dr Fabienne Collignon, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature
Fabienne Collignon is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Sheffield and is currently working on ‘the insectile’. Her research interests are critical theory, in particular theories of technology, subject formation, the ‘in-human’. She has published articles in Textual Practice, C-Theory, Journal of American Studies, Orbit, Configurations, new formations and Extrapolation.
Dr Dominic O’Key, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
Sheffield University staff page
Dominic joined the School of English at the University of Sheffield in 2021 as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Before that he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, where he also completed my PhD in English and Comparative Literature.
At Sheffield Dominic is working on a book project about literature, postcolonial thought, human-animal relations and the “native-invasive” paradigm. Provisionally titled Postcolonial Pests, the project explores how literary works help us make sense of the links between colonial history, human-wildlife conflict, conservation and extinction. His first book, Creaturely Forms in Contemporary Literature: Narrating the War Against Animals, was published by Bloomsbury in 2022.
Dr Christie Oliver-Hobley, Teaching Associate in Contemporary Literature
Originally from Sheffield, Christie lived away for a number of years before returning to complete his PhD here (which he finally managed to do in December 2021). He is now working as a fixed-term Teaching Associate in Contemporary Literature at the University of Sheffield.
His PhD examined how contemporary writers, artists, performers and filmmakers have attempted to imagine the subjective experiences of nonhuman animals, and examined the intersections of “animality” with human social identity markers, including “disability”, “gender” and “race”. To theorise these cultural texts, he (re)turned to existential phenomenology, the moment in continental thought that is most deeply invested in the bounded individual subject, but which had been disregarded by previous “animal studies” researchers.
He is now working on the monograph version of the thesis, which was recently contracted with Routledge. His research interests span twentieth-century literature, contemporary literature, performance studies, speculative fiction, animal studies, ecocriticism, critical race theory, and gender.
Mo (Charlotte) O’Neill, PhD student in English Literature (Part-time)
Co-Research Communications and Knowledge Exchange Coordinator for ShARC
Reading Group Coordinator
Having completed their BA and MA in English Literature in Sheffield, Mo started their PhD in the School of English in April 2018. They first studied late Victorian activist and writer Edward Carpenter as part of a SURE-funded research project during the second year of their undergraduate degree; went on to write about him for their undergraduate dissertation, and now he is the subject of their PhD research.
Entitled ‘Edward Carpenter: Beyond the Human’, Mo's thesis looks for the presence of the non-human in Carpenter’s prolific writing, uncovering an underexplored interest of the notable socialist and LGBT+ rights campaigner. While their work foregrounds Carpenter’s animal activism - including his opposition to meat eating, fur wearing, hunting, and vivisection - they also look for ways the more-than-human manifests in his writing more broadly. Mo is especially interested in Carpenter’s esoteric philosophy: influenced by Hinduism, it radically challenges the boundaries of the ‘human.’
Samantha J Hind, PhD Student in English Literature
Co-Research Communications and Knowledge Exchange Coordinator for ShARC
Website: Samantha J Hind (wordpress.com)
After completing an English and Film BA at the University of Salford in 2018 and an English Literature MA at the University of Sheffield in 2019, Sam is now a WRoCAH funded PhD student at Sheffield. She is interested in representations of flesh in 21st-century speculative fiction.
Her thesis, Speculative Flesh Ecologies: Researching Flesh Consumption in 21st century Speculative Fiction, explores the construction of flesh as a facilitator for human and non-human indistinction in twenty-first century speculative fiction. Her chapter, ‘“We’ve Made Meat for Everyone!”: The Ideology of Distinction and Becoming Flesh in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Joseph D’Lacey’s Meat’ has been published in the edited collection Interrogating the Boundaries of the Nonhuman: Literature, Climate Change, and Environmental Crises (Lexington, 2022).
Rosanne van der Voet, PhD Student in Creative Writing
Originally from Amsterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands, Roseanne has a background in European Culture and Literature (BA University of Amsterdam) and Literature, Landscape and Environment (MA Bath Spa University). She is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at Sheffield, funded by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Hendrik Muller Vaderlandsch Fonds, and WRoCAH.
Among other things, Rosanne is interested in material ecocriticism and creative practice, representations of sea and coast in contemporary literature, and development of new writing styles in response to the environmental crisis.
Rosanne's research explores what kinds of writing styles can make tangible the environmental crisis of the oceans, with a particular focus on the coast of South Holland. Against the theoretical background of material ecocriticism, she is developing a site-specific writing technique which aims to bring this field as situated phenomenology into practice.
Adopting a multimodal approach and crossing traditional boundaries between creative and academic writing styles and genres, she attempts to decentre human subjectivity in her writing, developing a non-anthropocentric writing style. Her article, ‘Experiments in sandscaping: Liminal entanglements on the Norfolk and South Holland Coast,’ has recently been published by Book 2.0, and her creative work is forthcoming in the next issue of The York Journal.
Gemma Curto, PhD Student in English Literature (part-time)
Gemma is a PhD student in English Literature in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. Her primary research interests lie in literature and science, chaos and climate change and animal studies in 20th and 21st century literature.
Gemma's project explores notions of chaos in the climate change imaginary. It is widely accepted that global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond. Yet, despite the huge impact on popular consciousness that Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Edward Lorenz’s summary of chaos theory had in the 60s and 70s, notions of climate responsibilities in an unjust world arise in the contemporary literary imagination. This project invites the reader to ask the largest possible questions in the midst of environmental catastrophes, which might lead to a benevolent future for Earth but not necessarily for human animals.
In her thesis she addresses the question of whether contemporary fiction authors reflect climate ethics and of the extent to which human and nonhuman animals are valued in this cohabited planet within a biocentric framework. Gemma's research examines works by authors including Tom Stoppard, Mark Z Danielewski, Jonathan Safran Foer, Robert Hunter, Richard McGuire and Margaret Atwood.
Frances Payne, PhD Student in Politics and International Relations
After completing her BA in Criminology at the University of Leicester and her MA in International Criminology at the University of Sheffield, Frances is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Relations here at Sheffield. Her PhD is funded by the Institute for Sustainable Food and she is also part of the research community at the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.
Frances' research investigates how victim conceptualisation and power relations influence how the protection of farmed animals and ‘wild’ animals are prioritised in sustainable food policy. She focuses on the case of Scottish salmon farming, for which policy decisions are increasingly influenced by concern for the conservation of wild salmon while welfare standards for farmed salmon remain limited.
Diego Exposito, PhD Student in Politics & International Relations
Website: Diego Exposito
Diego is interested in practical ethics and political philosophy broadly understood. However, his main interests lie in the fields of animal ethics and animal politics. His thesis deals with our duties towards wild animals who live in human-controlled spaces. In it, he argues that we have negative and positive duties towards these animals. In light of this, he is investigating how these duties contrast with our current behaviour and how these conflicts should be managed.
Indigo Gray, PhD Student in English Literature
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After completing an English Literature BA at the University of East Anglia in 2019 and an English Literature MA at the University of Sheffield in 2021, Indigo is now a WRoCAH funded PhD student at Sheffield. She is interested in relationships between species and bodies in the literature of the coal mine.
Indigo's thesis, Bodies of coal: Relationships of class and species in industrial literature, 1850-1939, explores the overlaps between human, animal, machine and coal bodies in narratives of coal mines. She examines the alteration of class, species and colonial relationships by reading material and bodily traces through a series of realist novels.
Liam Healy, Lecturer in Architecture
Sheffield University staff page
Liam is a designer, researcher and lecturer in the School of Architecture. Convinced by the joyous experiences of being, playing in, and moving through woods and forests, his current research (funded by the AHRC) concerns how the design of paths and trails might contribute to woodland health and expansion, and how more-than-human forest communities engage with these processes. In general his practice-research interests focus around situated speculative design, prototyping, DIY design, care, the Anthropocene, and design's intersection with actor-network theory and science and technology studies.
Dr Daniel J Bowman, PhD student in English Literature
Dr Daniel Bowman recently completed his PhD in English Literature at the University of Sheffield. His thesis, Horsepower: Animals in Automotive Culture, 1895-1935, examines material and symbolic representations of nonhuman animals and automobiles in American fiction at the dawn of the motor age. Daniel’s work has appeared in the Cambridge Journal of American Studies (2022).
Daniel's thesis, Horsepower: Animals in Automotive Culture, 1895-1935, considers the material and symbolic presence of animals in American literature at the dawn of the motor age, exploring the intersection of Literary, Animal, Automobility and American studies. His latest article, ‘Horsepower: Animals, Automobiles, and an Ethic of (Car) Care in Early US Road Narratives,’ is available to read in the Journal of American Studies (2022).
Dr Peter Sands, PhD student in English Literature
After completing a BA in English and History, and an MA in English Literature here at Sheffield, Pete began his PhD in September 2017, funded by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH). With grounding in literary animal studies, his work draws influence from biopolitical and posthumanist theory, ecocriticism and speculative fiction.
Peter's PhD research examines the role of species in the technological imagination of the Cold War. He is broadly concerned with the ways in which narratives of enclosure, contamination and disaster serve to secure the boundaries of the human both as biopolitical sovereign and as bare - or animal - life. His literary sources include works by Thomas Pynchon, J G Ballard, and Richard Matheson.
Dr Rachel Murray, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
Rachel is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow based in the School of English. Her primary research interests lie in modernism, literature and science, and animal studies. Before joining Sheffield, she was a Doctoral Prize Fellow at Loughborough University after completing her PhD at the University of Bristol in 2018.
Rachel's current research project, Strange Attachments, examines the presence of marine life in modern and contemporary literature. Identifying a recurrent fascination with creatures that grip or cling onto their surroundings, Rachel is considering what the idea of attachment - approached from various disciplinary angles - can bring to existing readings of the sea, as well as to environmental thought. She has also written a book about insects in modernist literature, and published articles on larval forms in Samuel Beckett and on James Joyce and bees. I am currently co-editing a special issue of Modernism/modernity (with Caroline Hovanec) entitled ‘Reading Modernism in the Sixth Extinction’.
Dr Sarah Bezan
Sarah Bezan is Newton International Fellow (2018-2020) at the University of Sheffield. Her postdoctoral project, “Animating the Fossil Image: Iconographies of Contingency in Contemporary Paleoart” seeks to understand how emerging paleoartists respond to ecological crisis. Her work more broadly is focused on evolutionary aesthetics, visual cultures of de-extinction, and the intersection of the arts and natural sciences.
Sarah is the co-editor of the book Seeing Animals After Derrida (Lexington Ecocritical Theory and Practice Series, 2018), along with a forthcoming special issue of Configurations (Johns Hopkins UP) on “Taxidermic Forms and Fictions” with Susan McHugh. Her first book-length manuscript (in preparation) explores the evolutionary aesthetics of decomposition in the thinking of Charles Darwin.
Prior to her tenure at the University of Sheffield, Sarah was a Research Affiliate at The University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities. She obtained her PhD from The University of Alberta, Canada, in 2017.
Dr Josh Milburn, Department of Politics and International Relations
Josh is a moral and political philosopher who writes about animal ethics. Before starting a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Sheffield in 2019, he taught at the University of York and held a the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Animal Studies at Queen’s University in Canada. He is a section editor of the journal Politics and Animals and a member of the Vegan Society’s Research Advisory Committee.
Josh’s current research project is called Food Justice and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully. He is exploring whether a state that respects animal rights could have a non-vegan food system - perhaps by producing in vitro meat, farming invertebrates, or coming up with other creative sources of animal-based foods. Prior and ongoing research has explored the place of animals in liberal and libertarian political theory, human relationships with wild animals, and the ethics of feeding animals.
Dr Ming Panha
Ming's PhD thesis focuses on pet dogs in Sherlock Holmes fictions by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the British imperial context. He is looking at pet dogs as a rebellious yet precarious living flesh, against medievalist and masculinist labelling, which is considered consolation for the loss of British imperial power as well as the revolution in gendered identity politics.
In Sherlock Holmes fictions, canine bodies in the domestic space play the role of discursive battlefield, and yet consider itself void of meaning and thus rebellious against human discursive practices.
Dr Alice Higgs
Alice's PhD thesis examines the representation of animals in contemporary Canadian literature, specifically post 1960. She is interested in looking at the ways in which Canadian literature interacts with animal representation, settler-colonialism and the vast cultural identities that make up Canada.
The spread of her research extends to authors including Margaret Atwood and Marian Engel, but also the work of Canadian-immigrant authors, such as Rawi Hage and Yann Martel, and First Nation authors, such as Tracey Lindberg and Eden Robinson.
Funded by the Canada-UK Foundation
Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London
Rebecca's thesis examines non-philosophy’s capacity for understanding animal life without casting in the image of philosophy’s auto-specular All, or its philomorphising of the Real and of thought. It aims to think through a generic matrix the elements of creatural meta-language, using this as basis for theorising without subjecting thought to standard philosophy’s formal disidentification from the nonhuman. This involves an attempt at thinking an “animal-without-animality,” since, she argues, animality is already a mode of being captured by metaphysics and weaponised against real animals.
She is also currently investigating science-fiction’s capacity to undermine metaphysical authoritarianism (and therefore, its capacity to provide a thought of the generic creatural).
Diana De Ritter
Diana's PhD thesis examines meat consumption and animal resources in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature. Currently, she is investigating portrayals of animals (especially pigs) in the comedic writings of P.G. Wodehouse and Saki. She is interested in how various literary modes imagine alternative roles for animals beyond their limited function as food commodities.
Her interest in critical animal studies originated during her MA, with a dissertation that tracked evolving trends in characterising the dog throughout nineteenth-century British literature.
Joe's thesis focuses on comparing contemporary literary fiction and scientific approaches to animal cognition (particularly in primates) and how these different models of knowledge are constructed and reconstructed into the wider framework of animal ethics. His scientific resources range between the likes of Jane Goodall, Roger Fouts and Marc Bekoff. His literary sources comprise mostly of post-1960s American and Canadian fiction including the works of Karen Joy Fowler, William Boyd and Colin McAdam.
Dr Seán McCorry
Sean is hoping to develop my thesis into a research monograph. The thesis investigates the crisis of humanism in postwar culture (1945-1970), tracing how the contemporary acceleration of technological development incited fears concerning the disappearance of human agency, and asking how these fears were articulated through a discourse of species.