Professor Alasdair Cochrane
Professor of 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 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).
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.
Professor Robert McKay
Professor of Contemporary Literature
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. I am 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
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 & Ireland) and co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature.
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 near to completing a monograph titled Victorians in Furs: Fiction, Fashion and Activism and I have started work on my 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. I am also contributing co-editor of The Dictionary of Neoliberal Terms (Spirit Duplicator) and have recently edited a collection of stories about tattooing for the British Library.
Dr Katherine Ebury
Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature
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
I joined the School of English at the University of Sheffield in 2021 as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Before that I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, where I also completed my PhD in English and Comparative Literature.
Here at Sheffield I’m 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. My first book, Creaturely Forms in Contemporary Literature: Narrating the War Against Animals, was published by Bloomsbury in 2022.
Dr Christie Oliver-Hobley
PhD student in English Literature
I am originally from Sheffield, but left six years ago to study BA English Language & Literature at the University of Leeds (graduating 2014). Thence to Cambridge to complete an MPhil in Modern and Contemporary English Studies (completed in 2016). I have now returned to the city of my upbringing to complete a PhD in English Literature, which is funded by the AHRC via the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH).
My PhD research engages with an eclectic array of contemporary sources, including nature memoirs, poetry, short stories, cinema, performance research and performance art. What links all of these diverse ‘texts’ is their interest in nonhuman subjectivities. Adopting animal affects, or inhabiting imagined nonhuman minds, they enact radical decentrings of the human. Some of these humans purportedly seek to surmount the wall of animal/human alterity entirely: to be, or to become, animal. In analysing these primary sources, my research draws heavily upon scientific enquiries into the nature of animal behaviour and/or minds, and upon Continental-Philosophical thinking about animals, over the past eighty-or-so years.
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 my BA and MA in English Literature in Sheffield, I started my PhD in the School of English in April 2018. I first studied late Victorian activist and writer Edward Carpenter as part of a SURE-funded research project during the second year of my undergraduate degree; I went on to write about him for my undergraduate dissertation, and now he is the subject of my PhD research.
Entitled ‘Edward Carpenter: Beyond the Human’, my 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 my work foregrounds Carpenter’s animal activism – including his opposition to meat eating, fur wearing, hunting, and vivisection – I also look for ways the more-than-human manifests in his writing more broadly. I am 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
Web Content Manager
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, I am now a WRoCAH funded PhD student at Sheffield. I am interested in representations of flesh in 21st century speculative fiction.
My 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. My 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’ is forthcoming 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, I have a background in European Culture and Literature (BA University of Amsterdam) and Literature, Landscape and Environment (MA Bath Spa University). I am currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at Sheffield, funded by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Hendrik Muller Vaderlandsch Fonds, and WRoCAH. Among other things, I’m 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.
My 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, I am 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, I attempt to decentre human subjectivity in my writing, developing a non-anthropocentric writing style. My article, ‘Experiments in sandscaping: Liminal entanglements on the Norfolk and South Holland Coast,’ has recently been published by Book 2.0, and my creative work is forthcoming in the next issue of The York Journal.
PhD Student in English Literature (part-time)
I am a PhD student in English Literature in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. My primary research interests lie in literature and science, chaos and climate change and animal studies in 20th and 21st century literature.
My 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. My project invites 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 my thesis I address 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. My research examines works by authors including Tom Stoppard, Mark Z. Danielewski, Jonathan Safran Foer, Robert Hunter, Richard McGuire and Margaret Atwood.
PhD Student in Politics and International Relations
After completing my BA in Criminology at the University of Leicester and my MA in International Criminology at the University of Sheffield, I am now a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Relations here at Sheffield. My PhD is funded by the Institute for Sustainable Food and I am also part of the research community at the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.
My research investigates how victim conceptualisation and power relations influence how the protection of farmed animals and ‘wild’ animals are prioritised in sustainable food policy. I focus 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.
Dr Daniel J Bowman
PhD student in English Literature
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, I began my PhD in September 2017, funded by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH). With grounding in literary animal studies, my work draws influence from biopolitical and posthumanist theory, ecocriticism and speculative fiction.
My PhD research examines the role of species in the technological imagination of the Cold War. I am 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. My literary sources include works by Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, and Richard Matheson.
Dr Rachel Murray
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow based in the School of English. My
primary research interests lie in modernism, literature and science, and animal studies. Before
joining Sheffield, I was a Doctoral Prize Fellow at Loughborough University after completing my PhD at the University of Bristol in 2018.
My 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, I’m 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. I’ve 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
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
My PhD thesis focuses on pet dogs in Sherlock Holmes fictions by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the British imperial context. I’m 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
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.
Funded by the Canada-UK Foundation
Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London
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).
Diana De Ritter
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.
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.
Dr Seán McCorry
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.