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Reading Zoos in the Age of the Anthropocene

Zoo Studies Group

At the end of the 3rd Reading Zoos Workshop in October 2020, the participants decided to found a Zoo Studies Group, with the aim of continuing the conversation beyond the end of the project grant period.

The group will meet (online, initially) on a semi-regular basis to discuss texts, artworks, scholarship, historical and current events relating to zoos and the transformation of the human–animal relationship in the 21st century. Please check the Events page for upcoming meetings. If you would like to join the group or attend a meeting, please see the Contact page.

Current Members

Anastassiya Andrianova
Associate Professor of English, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Anastassiya Andrianova has published on animal studies, zoopedagogy, ecospirituality, drama, Victorian pedagogy, and postcolonial literature, and is currently working at the intersection of critical animal studies and critical disability studies. Read more
Sarah Bezan
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity, University of York (UK)
Sarah Bezan is Postdoctoral Research Associate in Perceptions of Biodiversity Change at The University of York’s Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity and an Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre. Read more
Clemens Driessen
Assistant Professor, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University (NL)
Clemens Driessen’s research focuses on human–animal relations on farms and in the wild. Using a range of methods including ethnography, historiography, and creative design interventions he seeks new ways to explore questions in environmental philosophy and animal ethics. Read more
Kári Driscoll
Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Utrecht University (NL)
Kári Driscoll is a literary scholar, translator, and primary investigator in the Reading Zoos project. His research interests include the poetics of animality, the zoo in the Anthropocene, and the recurring problem of feline absence in literature, philosophy, and culture. Read more
Karlijn Herforth
Karlijn Herforth holds a research MA degree in Comparative Literary Studies from Utrecht University. Her main research interests include ecocriticism, animal studies, and climate change fiction. She also works as poetry editor for the online arts and literature journal Hard//hoofd. Read more
Anne Hölck
Anne Hölck is a scenographer and curator based in Berlin. Her ongoing research project focuses on the design of zoo enclosures and the legibility of reproduced animal images in zoo architecture. Read more
Tessel Janse
PhD candidate, Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London (UK)
Drawing from art projects that articulate the role of animals in colonialism, Tessel aims to tease out ongoing colonial performances of state sovereignty that are generally overlooked, and to consider decolonial options for living together more justly. Read more
Esther Köhring
Institute for German Literature, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (DE)
Esther Köhring is a theatre scholar working at the intersection of animal studies, theatre studies and the history of science. Her research focuses on animals on stage, in literature and theory. She is co-founder of the Early-Career Research Network CLAS. Read more
Christina May
Christina May is a curator and architectural historian. Her research focuses on zoo architecture and artificial landscapes. She is the author of “Die Szenografie der Wildnis” (2020), a study of the aesthetics of immersion in 20th century zoos. Read more
Susan McHugh
Professor of English, University of New England, Maine, USA
Susan McHugh’s ongoing research focuses on the intersections of biological and cultural extinction. She is the author, most recently, of Love in a Time of Slaughters (Penn State UP, 2019) and Series Co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature. Read more
Thera Naiman
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
Thera Naiman is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Johns Hopkins. Her dissertation explores how the Jardins des Plantes and d’Acclimatation in late-19th century Paris provided a platform to challenge, trouble, and reimagine scientific theories of species, race, and gender. Read more
Dominic O’Key
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds (UK)
Dominic O’Key’s research spans literary studies, critical theory and the environmental humanities. He studies the relationship between postcolonial thought and human-animal relations, and is currently working on his first book, to be published by Bloomsbury. Read more
Deborah Schrijvers
Ad Astra PhD scholar, Department of Environmental Humanities, University College Dublin
Deborah Schrijvers holds an MA in Philosophy from Erasmus University Rotterdam and an MA in Literary Studies from Leiden. Her current research focuses on decolonizing extinction, paying special attention to gender and race in contemporary transnational literature, film and art.
Harriet Smith
Research Associate, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, Wales
Harriet Smith holds a PhD in visual sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London. In her research she is interested in the performative effects of formally orchestrated inter-species encounters. She conducts ethnographic and participatory research utilizing photography, video, and drawing. Read more
Marianna Szczygielska
Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Berlin (DE)
Marianna Szczygielska has published on zoos and gender, scientific research on hormones, relations between affect, transgender, and animal studies. Her current research project concerns the complex intersections between post-socialism, post-colonialism, and post-humanism at the site of the zoological garden. Read more
Pauw Vos
Pauw Vos is currently a master’s student in Comparative Literary Studies at Utrecht University. He is a founding editor of the student-run magazine Paratext. His research and literary interests lie in the interrelated fields of ecocriticism and literary animal studies.
Andrew Westoll
Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English, University of Toronto Scarborough (CAN)
Andrew Westoll is an award-winning author, journalist and professor based in Toronto. He is currently working on his fourth book, entitled The Zoo and You, to be published by Doubleday Canada. Read more
Mia You
Lecturer in English, Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication, Utrecht University (NL)
Mia You is an award-winning poet and scholar. She holds a PhD in English from Berkeley and now teaches English and Creative Writing at Utrecht. She is the author of the poetry collection “I, Too, Dislike It” (1913 Press, 2016). Read more
Thijs de Zeeuw
Nature Optimist
Thijs de Zeeuw is a landscape architect. He has designed several animal enclosures for ARTIS Royal Zoo in Amsterdam, most prominently the landscape for the Asian Elephants. He is involved in a research project entitled Zoo of the Future (ZOOOF). Read more
Concepción Cortés Zulueta
Juan de la Cierva Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Art History, Universidad de Málaga (ES)
Concepción Cortés Zulueta holds a PhD in Art History from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Her research focuses on the presence and agency of nonhuman animals in contemporary art and visual culture. Read more