Animal Remains for Webpage.png

Animal Remains

Biennial Conference of 

The University of Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC)

April 29-30th, 2019

Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Keynote Speakers: 

Lucinda Cole, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Thom van Dooren, The University of Sydney, Australia

Artist in Residence:

Steve Baker, The University of Central Lancashire, UK

Animal remains are everywhere. From the cryogenically-preserved DNA of the extinct Po’ouli bird held in storage at the Frozen Zoo to the ivory tusks of African elephants that flood the market of the illegal wildlife trade, animal bodies have been fashioned into commodities, fetishized visual objects, colonial artifacts, meat, carrion, taxidermic trophies, and biotechnological innovations. Decomposed organic compounds that were once ancient animal and vegetable remains are also converted into fuel and an array of petro-products, while dinosaurs and other prehistoric species make frequent appearances in recent science fiction films like Jurassic World.

The fossil in particular has emerged as contested theoretical terrain, as Elizabeth Povinelli suggests in her critique of settler late liberalism (Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism). The fossil is regarded as the “endpoint” of the biological image in W.J.T. Mitchell’s Image Science, and as the threshold that marks the crossover of living things into the “world of rocks” (Manuel DeLanda). Meanwhile, for speculative realists like Timothy Morton, it is a “hyperobject” characterized by its “sensuous connectivity” and withdrawal from humans (Hyperobjects). As Elizabeth Kolbert points out in The Sixth Extinction, the fossil has only relatively recently afforded animals a history, because prior to the seventeenth century, the “category of extinction didn’t exist.” In studies of the Anthropocene, the fossil gestures to the geological as well as the “intersecting biological and chemical” transformations that “intermesh human and natural histories,” according to Stacy Alaimo (“Your Shell on Acid”). Indeed, the fossil — and animal remains more broadly conceived — hover at the periphery of a number of critical inquiries across the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, but have yet to receive sustained and thoughtful engagement.

Building on these emerging developments, this international and cross-disciplinary conference will examine the material histories and futures of animal remains. In which ways, and to what effect, are animal remains figured in narratological frameworks (David Herman, Susan McHugh)? Can animal remains incite us to imagine extinction (Ursula Heise, Thom Van Dooren), and if so, how? What are the material, affective, philosophical, ecological, and biological afterlives of dead animals (Rachel Poliquin, Samuel J.M.M. Alberti)? With the sixth mass extinction underway, how do we apprehend the sheer scale and scope of animal remains, given the hyper-visibility of some, and the invisibility of others? What are the political and ethical stakes involved in our treatment of animal remains? This conference invites a broad exploration of these kinds of questions. Possible topics or sub-fields include petrocultures, zooarchaeology, dinosaur iconology, zoological gardens, museological/memory studies, cryptozoology, wildlife conservation, de-extinction movements, bio-/cryopolitics, neo-vitalist philosophy, ecologies of putrefaction (see Lucinda Cole), spatial geographies of rot (see Jamie Lorimer), new materialisms (inclusive of what Kim Tallbear calls “an indigenous metaphysic”), decolonizing animals, animal remains and art, extinction studies, and beyond.

Abstracts of 350 words, along with a 50-word bio (in email body or in doc.x), can be sent to Sarah Bezan ( and Robert McKay ( by November 23rd, 2018. Early career scholars and post-graduate researchers are expressly encouraged to submit abstracts, and will be eligible to apply for ShARC Travel Awards to defray the costs of travel. Confirmed participants will be notified by late December 2018. An edited volume on ‘Animal Remains’ will be one of the anticipated outcomes of this meeting, and will be considered for publication in the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature series.

This conference is generously supported by BIOSEC 

and the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities


Animal Remains

Biennial Conference of

The University of Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC)


Humanities Research Institute

The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom


April 29 - 30th 2019


Keynote Speakers

Lucinda Cole, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Thom van Dooren, The University of Sydney, Australia


Artist in Residence

Steve Baker, The University of Central Lancashire, UK


Twitter: @ShefAnimals @biosec_erc



Organizing Team


Lead Organizers: Sarah Bezan & Robert McKay (ShARC)

Partnering Organizers: Lucy Dunning, Rosaleen Duffy (BIOSEC)

Postgraduate Organizers: Christie Oliver-Hobley, Peter Sands, Ming Panha

Postgraduate Volunteers: Daniel Bowman, Alice Higgs, Charlotte O'Neill, Cecilia Tricker-Walsh, Diana De Ritter, Emily-Rose Baker, Rosamund Portus, Sophia Nicolov, Mauro Rizetto



Day 1 – Monday, 29th April

8:30-9:15 – Registration & Coffee

Humanities Research Institute (HRI), 34 Gell Street           


9:15-9:30 ­– Welcome from Sarah Bezan & Robert McKay (HRI)

9:30-10:50 – Plenary Session (HRI)

       Chairs: Sarah Bezan and Robert McKay

Jane Desmond, ‘Up in Smoke: Creating and Caring for “Cremains”’

Mario Ortiz-Robles, ‘Staging Nature’

Michelle Bastian, ‘Whale Falls and Extinctions Never Known’

11:10-12:30 – Parallel Panels, Session 1

Panel 1.1 – Petrocultures & Beyond I: Roadkill(s) & Oil Spills

Jessop Building, Ensemble Room 2 (Chair: Peter Sands)

Josephine Taylor, ‘Vulnerability and Exposure: Road Kill and Oil Spills’

Dion Dobrzynski, ‘Roadkill Elegies: Mourning Structural Violence’

Megan Green, ‘Home Décor’ [videolink]

Panel 1.2 – Gendered Remains

Richard Roberts Building, Pool Seminar Room A85 (Chair: Christie Oliver-Hobley)

Caitlin Stobie, ‘Two Billboards in Niagara, Ontario: Animal Abortions, Animal Remains’

Corey Wrenn, ‘Animal Spirits and Their Gendered Earthly Remains: Summoning Masculinity and Femininity Norms in the Human-Nonhuman Relations of Ghost Stories’

Pandora Syperek, ‘Excessive Animal Remains: Queering Hummingbird Taxidermy in the Natural History Museum’

Panel 1.3 – Politics, Conservation & Industrial Commodities

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Rosaleen Duffy)

Daniel Bowman, ‘Muck Raking: Waste and Animality in Upton Sinclair’

Karin Gunnarsson Dinker, ‘Animal Remains in Primary School’

Brock Bersaglio & Jared Margulies, ‘The political afterlives of lively commodities’

Panel 1.4 – Extinction Narratives & Representations

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: Sophia Nicolov)

Jody Berland, ‘Noah’s Archive in the Sixth Extinction’

Rosamund Portus, ‘Absent Remains: Bees, Extinction, and Colony Collapse Disorder’

Sarah Wade, ‘The Extinction Effect: Ethical Animal Bodies in Contemporary Art’

12:30-14:00 – Lunch

13:00-13:45 – Artist in Residence Showcase with Steve Baker (curated by Maria Lux)

Jessop West Building Foyer

14:00-15:20 – Parallel Panels, Session 2

Panel 2.1 – Necrozoosemiotics

Richard Roberts Building, Pool Seminar Room B79 (Chair:  Emily-Rose Baker)

Daisy Lafarge, ‘Idiomatic Remains’

Melissa Yang, ‘Gossamer Skeins and Gooseflesh/Take a Gander, Silly Goose’

Sarah Bezan, ‘The Virtual Realities of Species Revivalism: Restoring the Kaua’i Bird in Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s Re-Animated’

Panel 2.2 - Blue Humanities: The Remains of Whales

Richard Roberts Building, Pool Seminar Room A84 (Chair: Michelle Bastian)

Sophia Nicolov, ‘Scourge of the Red Tide: The 2015 Sei Whale Mass Stranding in Chilean Patagonia and Its Cultural Representations’

Elspeth Tulloch, ‘Deathly Poetics: Conflating the One, the Many, and the “I” in a Whale of Remains’

Amy Wardle, ‘Moby Doll's House: Killer Whales/Killed Whales in Contemporary Documentary Films’

Panel 2.3 – The Remains of Companion Species

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Ming Panha)

Ang Bertram, ‘Dogs and the Elderly: significant cohabitation and companionship towards the end of life’

Stephanie Howard-Smith, ‘Alternatives to Heaven: Dead Dogs in Eighteenth-Century Europe’

Carolin Eirich, ‘Untethered – A Fictocritical Account of Human-Canine Cohabitation, Mourning, and Melancholic Attachment’

Panel 2.4 – Fur, Leather, and Commodities

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: Alice Higgs)

John Miller, ‘The Selkie and the Fur Trade: Eliza Keary’s “Little Sealskin”’

Rachel Webb Jekanowski, ‘From Labrador to Leipzig: Me’dia and Exhibition Cultures Along the Fur Trail’

Charlotte O’Neill, ‘“You kid-gloved rotten-headed paralytic world”: Leather, animality, and queerness in the writing of Edward Carpenter’

15:40-17:00 – Parallel Panels, Session 3

Panel 3.1 – Staging Disappearance

Richard Roberts Building, Pool Seminar Room B79 (Chair: Charlotte O’Neill)

Anna Banks, ‘Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies: Material and Narrative Remains of Wild Horses in the American West’

Joshua Barnett, ‘Vigilant Mourning: Staging Disappearance and Destruction’

Eva Spiegelhofer, ‘Beyond Parchment: Textual Materiality and Traces of Animals in Early Modern Book Production’

Panel 3.2 – The Fossil Bestiary

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: John Miller)

Peter Sands, ‘Fossilised Futures, Dead Worlds and Animal Remains in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard’

Ana María Gómez López, ‘Photographing Dead Animals: Taphonomy and Its Inheritances’ [videolink]

Ida Olsen, ‘How the Dead (Make Us) Dream: Envisioning Species Extinction Through Encounters with Animal Remains in Contemporary Fiction’

Panel 3.3 – Insect/Invertebrate Remains

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Steve Baker)

Ally Bisshop, ‘Invertebrate Architectures: What of the Spider Remains in the Web?’

Heather Lynch, ‘The Violence of Affirmative Biopolitics: When the Extinct Return to the Home’

Eva Giraud & Greg Hollin, ‘Estranged Companions: Bedbugs and Biology in Multispecies Worlds’

17:30-18:30 – Keynote with Thom van Dooren, ‘Moving Birds in Hawai’i: Assisted colonisation in a colonised land’


19:00-21:00 – Conference Dinner

INOX, Level 5, Students’ Union Building, Durham Road


Day 2 – Tuesday, 30th April

9:00-9:30 – Coffee (HRI)

9:30-10:50 – Parallel Panels, Session 4

Panel 4.1 – Petrocultures & Beyond II: Roadkill(s) & Oil Spills

Portobello Centre, Pool Seminar Room B57c (Chair: Daniel Bowman)

Khatijah Rahmat, ‘There is Buried Here a Wild Elephant: Reframing the 1984 Teluk Anson Elephant-Train Collision Through Animal-Made Materialisms’

Tim Cooper, ‘Women and Children First?: The Feminist Art of Caring for the Dying Animal’

Panel 4.2 – Remains & Their Contexts

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Christie Oliver-Hobley)

Robert McKay, ‘Carniveracity’

Helen List, ‘Spectral Envelopes: Remaining Animal Amongst Fashion’

Ming Panha, ‘The unforgiveable, yet innocent birds: The irony of bird rendering in the rise of consumerism in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’

Panel 4.3 – Aliens, Androids, and Archaeologies of the Future

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: Peter Sands)

Kristin Gupta, ‘Death Futures’

Alex Bunten-Walberg, ‘Inherting the Inhuman: (Post)humanism, Ethics and Historicity in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’

Brian McCormack, ‘Speculative Alien Encounters and Techno-Utopian Value Practices: Alien Planet and Future Animal Remains’

11:10-12:50 – Parallel Panels, Session 5

Panel 5.1 – Multispecies Proximities

Portobello Centre, Pool Seminar Room B57c (Chair: Cecilia Tricker-Walsh)

Andrea Feeser, ‘Where Life and Death Meet: Jimmie Durham’s God’s Children, God’s Poems’

Catherine Fairfield, ‘Spaceships, Butterflies, and Plastic Bags: Confronting Change in Contemporary North American Novels’

Gemma Curto, ‘Interspecies Relationality in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes

Panel 5.2 – Osteobiographies & The Skeletal Assemblage

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Mauro Rizetto)

Ben Greet, ‘Chukar Partridge Remains as Expressions of Identity in Prehistory’

Alex Fitzpatrick, ‘Should We Respect Rover's Remains?: A Discussion on Ethics, or the Lack Thereof, in Zooarchaeology’

Emily Hull, ‘Sexual and Reproductive Vulnerabilities in Wild Rinnish Reindeer’ [videolink]

Panel 5.3 – The Absent Referents/Remains of Meat

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: Alasdair Cochrane)

Christie Oliver-Hobley, ‘“Meat” and “Flesh”: Merleau-Ponty and the Mime Artistry of Trygve Wakenshaw

Eve Kasprzycka, ‘What Remains After Livestock: Deadstock, Discourse and Biocapital’

Simon Ryle, ‘Xenoflesh: Zoopolitics/poetics of Meat’

Natalie Joelle, ‘Gleaning Lean Culture: On Lean Logic’

13:00-14:00 Lunch (HRI)

14:00-15:20 – Parallel Panels, Session 6

Panel 6.1 – The Life/Death Divide

Portobello Centre, Pool Seminar Room B57c (Chair: Thom van Dooren)

Diana DeRitter, ‘“A sopping wet lake of red slush”: Erasing Animal Remains in A Day No Pigs Would Die’

Greg Hollin, ‘Consider the Woodpecker’

Elysia French, ‘Visualizing Remains; Thinking Through Absence’

Panel 6.2 – De-Extinction Forms and Fictions

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Sarah Bezan)

Adam Searle, ‘De/extinction: Liminality in the Anabiosphere’

Dominic O’Key, ‘Entering Life: Literary De-Extinction and Multispecies Love in Mahasewata Devi’s “Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha”’

Charlotte Wrigley, ‘Time-Travelling the Anthropocene: Permafrost and Planetary Redemption’

Panel 6.3 – Taxidermic Afterlives

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: Robert McKay)

Racheal Harris, ‘In the Skin: Memorialising Animals in Taxidermy and Tattoo’

Maria Lux, ‘Famous Monsters’

Cecilia Tricker-Walsh, ‘Environmental Documents: Practicing Taxidermy in Joy Williams’

15:40-17:00 – Parallel Panels, Session 7

Panel 7.1 – Dinosaurs (Past, Present, Future)

Portobello Centre, Pool Seminar B57c (Chair: Diana De Ritter)

Verity Burke, ‘The Evolving Museum: Reading the Lapworth Museum and Archive of Geology’

Will Tattersdill, ‘The Evaporation and Precipitation of Brontosaurus, or, On the Isues Raised By Beloved, Extinct Animals’

Jonathan Osborne, ‘Domesticating Evolution: Animate Visions of Speculative Life in “The Future is Wild”’

Panel 7.2 – Memory and Memorialization

HRI, Seminar Room 1 (Chair: Sophia Nicolov)

Emily-Rose Baker, ‘“There was somethin goin on behind his eyes”: Holocaust and Animal Zombies in Igor Ostachowicz’s Night of the Living Jews (2012) and Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1983)’

Ulrike Seifert, ‘Victims, bodies, playthings: Children and Animal Death in Francois Boyer’s Forbidden Games (1947)’

Julia Schlosser, ‘An Examination of Pet Death Through the Corporeal Remains of Companion Animals in the Photographic Artwork of Nobuoshi Araki, Shannon Johnstone, Hyewon Keum and Julia Schlosser’

Panel 7.3 – Museums & Institutional Remains

HRI, Seminar Room 2 (Chair: Pandora Syperek)

Justin Mullis: ‘Bones of Leviathan: Albert Koch and the Making of the First Creationist Museum’ [videolink]

Katla Kjartansdóttir, ‘The garefowl affect – The changing symbolic meanings of the great auk and its afterlife as a museum object in Iceland and in Denmark’

Michael Lawrence, ‘Death and Durability: Animal Remains and the “Life” of the Banknote’

17:30-18:30 – Keynote with Lucinda Cole, ‘Poisons, Plagues, Dead Rats: In Search of a Medical Posthumanities’



18:30-18:45 - Final Wrap-Up (Sarah Bezan & Robert McKay, with ShARC Co-Directors John Miller and Alasdair Cochrane)


End of Conference