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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Professor Laura Wright - A Plague Genealogy: Climate Change, Covid, and Animals

22nd October 2020, 16:00, Zoom, Professor Laura Wright (Western Carolina University)

All talks are free and open to the public.

The zoom link will be sent out via the mailing list of the Centre for Culture and Ecology (normally on Tuesdays before the event). You can be added to the list by emailing If you want to join for just this talk, you can email or

This talk is co-hosted by the "World and Postcolonial Cultures Group" (University of Exeter) and will be chaired by Dr Jane Poyner (University of Exeter).


The 1918 flu was avian in origin. Covid-19, the pandemic that has been racing around the planet since last year, likely emerged from pangolins in a live animal market in Wuhan, China, but as Thom Van Dooren notes, if the pangolin “does turn out to be the unwitting and unwilling culprit behind this pandemic, this unlucky animal will join a long list of others whose life was cut short, whose species was endangered, and whose environment was destroyed, by a diverse range of ongoing human activities that are simultaneously helping to engineer new zoonotic diseases.” An Open Letter from Environmental Humanities scholars was published in Bifrostthis past June noting that in the moment of our current pandemic, “a virus carries the message of our interbeing – across bodies, species, continents.” In this talk, I offer a nonlinear plague genealogy situated within fiction and history in order to decode this message and to probe the social, environmental, and economic interconnections that underscore and complicate this Anthropocenic crisis.

About Professor Laura Wright

Laura Wright is the founder of the field of Vegan Studies. She is Professor of English at Western Carolina University, where she specializes in postcolonial literatures and theory, ecocriticism, and animal studies. Her monographs include Writing Out of All the Camps: J. M. Coetzee's Narratives of Displacement (Routledge, 2006 and 2009), Wilderness into Civilized Shapes: Reading the Postcolonial Environment (U of Georgia P, 2010), and The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror(U of Georgia P in 2015). Her edited collection Doing Vegan Studies: Textual Animals and Discursive Ethics was published in 2019 from the University of Nevada Press.

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