NeMLA 2023 Panel: Animals of the Victorian Age: Queer Ecology and the Emphasis on Animal Kinship

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Jacob Crystal / University of Tulsa
contact email: 

In Animal Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Process (1892), Henry Salt argues that “Oppression and cruelty are invariably founded on a lack of imaginative sympathy,” which purports the notion of the “tyrant or tormentor” from ever having a “true sense of kinship with the victim” (16). In a similar way, Donna Haraway states in When Species Meet (2007), that “we are a knot of species coshaping [sic] one another in layers of reciprocating complexity all the way down” (42). Taking cues from Salt and Haraway, our panel will take up key features of human and animal relations and their intersection with the queerness of imaginative sympathy.

Relatedly, and in conversation with Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands and Bruce Erickson’s notion of queer ecology, which connects human relationships with all aspects of the organic, and “influence[s] both the material world of nature and our perceptions, experiences, and constitutions of [our] world” (Queer Ecologies 161), this panel seeks submissions that bring animals into discussion of queerness and animality studies to a) explain the importance of extending the studies of queerness and animality to Victorian representations of ecology and eco-critical thought, and b) demonstrate some ways in which the Victorian period represents companionships with animals as a site of alterity, possibility, and nonconformity, one that confounds/complicates normative expressions of gender and sexuality.

At its most theoretical, the panel will also extend appreciation for nonhuman systems of communication and engage with contemporary scholarship that incorporates nonhuman modes of engagement into an understanding of global co-habitation.

Feel free to contact Jacob Crystal at and Shun Kiang (cochair) at for more information. Please submit 200-word abstracts and short bios directly to NeMLA