Assistant Professor, General Faculty, Writing and Rhetoric Program
Fall 2021 Office Hours: MWF 9-10 (through Zoom)
214 Bryan Hall
Class Schedule: T/Th 9:30-10:45, 11:00-12:15, 2:00-3:15
Critical Animal Studies, African American Literature, Vegan Theory
PhD University of Mississippi
BA Bryn Mawr College
“Black Veganism: Race, Animals, and Ethics.” Co-Presentation with Syl Ko, Department of Environmental Humanities, Yale University. Virtual, February 2021. Invited.
“Thinking Violence in Femivorism and Veganism: The 'Authenticity' of Unethical Violence in Camas Davis’ Killing It and The Exploitation of 'Blood-Thirsty' Vegan Violence in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web." Animals & Society Research Initiative Distinguished Lecture Series, University of Victoria, Canada. Virtual, October 2020. Invited.
“Animality and Fugitive Humanism in Nineteenth-Century African America.” Lecture for the Human Animal Studies Seminar, The University Seminars, Columbia University. New York, April 2019. Invited.
“Imagining Feminist Justice for Nonhuman Animals: A Roundtable Conversation.” National Women’s Studies Association. Atlanta, November 2018. Invited.
“Fleeing White Supremacy: Fugitive Humanism in African America.” Lecture for Human-Animal Studies Summer Institute, University of Illinois. Urbana, July 2018. Invited.
“Animals and Radical Mourning.” Virginia Humanities Conference: Animals and the Humanities, Roanoke College. Salem, March 2018.
“Animals and Death.” Let’s Have Dinner and Talk about Death! Series, Virginia Anthropology Society, University of Virginia. Charlottesville, November 2017. Invited.
DESCRIPTION OF ACADEMIC WORK
Can we write without assuming mastery? Think without exploiting? Live without consuming others’ lives and worlds? What is an ethical foundation from which to think, write, and live?
A widely held answer to this question is the foundation of “the human.” Yet humanist discourse has long been weaponized against animal as well as human populations, and my teaching and research work to reveal and resist this violence—and to acknowledge, work within, and create ways of thinking that respond ethically to the lives and communities of others.
My recent book, Race Matters, Animal Matters: Fugitive Humanism in African America, 1840-1930 (Routledge, 2018), is interested in how works by Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Ida B. Wells, and James Weldon Johnson (among others) write racial justice in alliance with—rather than separation from—animals. I articulate a theory of “fugitive humanism” that foregrounds how these texts flee both white and human supremacy, refusing the white-defined and violent categories of “human” and “animal” on which black liberation supposedly depends. In doing so, these black authors redefine what it means to be human, undermining the binaries that produce racial and animal injustices and providing prophetic frameworks for liberation, both human and animal.
My current work is embedded in the exciting and new field of vegan theory, which is about so much more than what we eat or wear. I am working on projects that consider the following: vegan thinking as internal to anti-racist and anti-sexist work; animals and the sacred; the aesthetics of mystification in campaigns attempting to address species extinction; and the cultivation of transparent violence as supposedly ethical in “femivore” texts.
The university must divest from all forms of exploitation. I am the faculty advisor for Animal Justice Advocates @ UVA and am proud to support the students in their campaign for an Education without Violence.