Dr Alasdair Cochrane
Senior Lecturer in Political Theory
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.
I have written two books on these issues, Animal Rights without Liberation (Columbia University Press, 2012) and An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). And I am currently writing a third, provisionally entitled Sentientist Pol : A Global Theory of Inter-Species Justice’.
My 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. https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic/alasdair-cochrane
Dr Robert McKay
Senior Lecturer in English Literature
Email : R.McKay@sheffield.ac.uk
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.
I am 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. http://www.shef.ac.uk/english/people/mckay
Dr John Miller
Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature
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 General Secretary of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK & Ireland): http://asle.org.uk/ and co-editor of Palsgrave Studies in Animals and Literature. https://www.shef.ac.uk/english/people/miller
My research focuses on writing about animals, ecology and empire from the nineteenth century to the present, with particular emphasis on the late Victorian period. My first monograph Empire and the Animal Body (Anthem, 2012) explores the representation of exotic animals in Victorian and Edwardian adventure fiction. My second book is the co-authored volume Walrus for the Reaktion Animal series. I am currently working towards my next monograph, ‘Once Upon a Time I Was— ALIVE’: Fur and Fiction from Cooper to Kafka.
Dr Seán McCorry
Postdoctoral researcher, English Literature
I have recently completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield, where I have been researching the material and conceptual relationships between animals and technology in postwar culture. I focus on literary animal studies while also drawing on other approaches, including ecocriticism, science fiction studies, posthumanist theory, extinction studies, and the new materialism(s).
I am hoping to develop my thesis into a research monograph. My 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.
Together with my colleague Dr. John Miller, I am preparing an edited collection of essays on the topic of flesh-eating and literature.
PhD student in English Literature
I began my PhD in the University of Sheffield’s English department in January 2015. My primary fields of research are critical animal studies and Laruellean non-philosophy, with groundings in biopolitics and speculative realism. I examine the ways in which standard philosophy excises a generic creatural thought from itself and from critical thought in general through a supposed self-sufficiency of method – an identity that is immanent to thought and produced by a set of internal decisions that subdivide and reify the Real.
My 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, I argue, animality is already a mode of being captured by metaphysics and weaponised against real animals.
I’m also currently investigating science-fiction’s capacity to undermine metaphysical authoritarianism (and therefore, its capacity to provide a thought of the generic creatural).
PhD student in Politics and Political Philosophy
I am currently a WRoCAH-funded PhD research candidate in the department of politics at the University of Sheffield, focusing chiefly on political philosophy and animal studies.
I completed my master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Durham in 2016, and my undergraduate degree at Nottingham Trent University in 2015, graduating with honours at the top of my cohort. I am also an Alumni Fellow at Nottingham Trent University and Events Coordinator for ShARC.
My academic interest in animal studies began during my undergraduate degree culminating in a 12,000 word dissertation titled ‘Against Speciesism’, in which I scrutinised various political and philosophical approaches to animal ethics, reflecting on the importance of moral considerability, value, and justice. I followed this with an MA dissertation titled ‘The historic Narrative Value of Species’, arguing that current theories are inadequately equipped to deal with the issue of species’ value. I am at present working on my PhD thesis with the working title ‘The Value of Species’, arguing that whilst species do not have intrinsic value they are extremely valuable insofar as they are instrumentally valuable to individual organisms.
Dr Michael Malay
Leverhulme Early Career
I came to Sheffield as a postdoctoral fellow in 2016, after finishing my PhD in Bristol in 2014, where I taught English for a number of years. My primary research interests
are in modern poetry, animal studies and environmental writing.
PhD student in English Literature
I am a first-year PhD candidate in the department of English Literature, having completed both my BA and MA here at Sheffield. My work focuses on the contemporary representation of animals in literature, drawing on critical animal studies, postcolonial theory and anthropology.
My PhD thesis examines the representation of animals in contemporary Canadian literature, specifically post 1960. I am 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 my 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.
PhD student in English Literature
Web Content Manager for ShARC
I am currently in my second year of study for a PhD in English Literature, having previously completed both my BA and MA qualifications here at Sheffield. My work focuses on comparisons between representations of animal life in contemporary fiction and scientific models of knowledge, particularly the fields of primatology and cognitive ethology. I am also the Web Content Manager for ShARC.
My 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. My scientific resources range between the likes of Jane Goodall, Roger Fouts and Marc Bekoff. My literary sources comprise mostly of post-1960s American and Canadian fiction including the works of Karen Joy Fowler, William Boyd and Colin McAdam.
PhD candidate in English Literature
Funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, I am a PhD candidate in the School of English at Sheffield. My area of research broadly covers literary representations of animals from 1800 to the present, with a particular interest in the Victorian period and depictions of farm/companion animals. After earning my MA at the University of Leeds in 2011, I served as Lecturer in English Literature and Language at Utah Valley University in the United States, teaching rhetoric and academic writing.
My PhD thesis examines meat consumption and animal resources in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature. Currently, I am investigating portrayals of animals (especially pigs) in the comedic writings of P.G. Wodehouse and Saki. I am interested in how various literary modes imagine alternative roles for animals beyond their limited function as food commodities. My interest in critical animal studies originated during my MA, with a dissertation that tracked evolving trends in characterising the dog throughout nineteenth-century British literature.