Animal Studies

The Animals and Society Institute and Wesleyan Animal Studies are proud to announce the 2015 ASI-WAS Human-Animal Studies Fellows pursuing research in Human-Animal Studies.

The fellowship is hosted by Wesleyan faculty Lori Gruen and Kari Weil. Gruen is a Professor of Philosophy, Environmental Studies, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan, and author of Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2011). Weil is Chair and University Professor of Letters at Wesleyan, and author of Thinking Animals (Columbia, 2012).

The fellowship program is directed by Ken Shapiro, Executive Director of Animals and Society Institute, Margo DeMello, Program Director, Human Animal Studies Program, and Wesleyan professors Lori Gruen, and Kari Weil.

This year's Fellowship was supported by the generosity of Wesleyan's Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Animal Welfare Trust,  Ellen K. Jacobs and family, the Humane Society of the United States, the NYU Animal Studies Inititative, and the Philosophy Department.


Chloe Diamond-Lenow, PhD Candidate, Feminist Studies,
University of California, Santa Barbara

“Boundary Affects: Race, Gender, Sex and Species in the ‘War on Terror’”

Chloe Diamond-Lenow is a PhD candidate in Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.  Her dissertation, “Boundary Affects: Race, Gender, Sex, Species in the ‘War on Terror,’” analyzes the intersections of affect, race, gender, sex and species. She argues that public discourse mobilizes dogs as affective capital in the service of orientalist terms of racialization through sentimental narratives about “puppy love” to make and unmake biopolitical boundaries of life, species and nation.  Through this analysis, she unpacks how the racialized sacrificial economy of war that authorizes killing certain bodies relies on the trope of the animal to justify murder, while it permits animals to be framed outside of a sacrificial economy of speciesism that renders all animals as killable.  Her areas of specialization include feminist theory, queer theory, postcolonial theory, animal studies, affect theory and transnational sexuality studies.  She is co-convener and founder of the UCSB HumAnimality Research Focus Group.

Elan Abrell


Jan Dutkiewicz, PhD Candidate, Politics, New School for Research

“Capitalist Pigs: Animal Commodities and the Politics of Value”

Jan Dutkiewicz is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Politics at the New School for Social Research. His work focuses on the political economy of animal agriculture and the politicization of ethical issues related to agriculture, food, and nonhumans. He holds an MBA with a focus on the news media and a Master’s of International Relations, and has a professional background in print journalism and small-scale agribusiness development.



Laura Perry, PhD Candidate, Literary Studies,
University of Wisconsin, Madison

“Scapegoats: the agricultural logic that shaped the suburban imaginary”

Laura Perry is a PhD candidate in Literary Studies at University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her dissertation is concerned with the suburban animal in postwar American literature. Her work this summer will examine how the swift spread of zoning laws in the early twentieth-century introduced and codified a new set of prejudices about the proper place for animals in American neighborhoods, by tracking the concept of a “public nuisance” across zoning regulations, insurance manuals, real estate textbooks, and postwar literary texts. Perry is a dog person.

Laura Perry


Marianna Szczygielska, PhD Candidate, Gender Studies,
Central European University, Budapest

“Queer(ing) Naturecultures. The study of Zoo Animals”

Marianna Szczygielska is a PhD Candidate in the Gender Studies Department of the Central European University in Budapest. Szczygielska’s background is in philosophy and gender studies and they are interested in posthumanism, animal studies, queer theory and the philosophy of science. Marianna’s current project, entitled “Queer(ing) Naturecultures: The Study of Zoo Animals,” examines how the concepts of nature, animality, and humanness have been and continue to be constructed in relation to sexuality and gender through the establishment of the modern zoological gardens. Apart from the academic work Szczygielska is also a queer-feminist activist and performer involved in various groups.



Erica Tom, PhD Candidate (ABD) in American Studies,
Rutgers University, Newark

Erica Tom is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. She earned her BA in English Literature, with a minor in Classical Studies, from the University of Washington in 2007, and completed her MA in English Literature at Sonoma State University in
2012, during which time she produced her first article, “Pasture Pedagogy: Reflections from the Field on Embodied Learning” in Mira-Lisa Katz’s edited collection Moving Ideas: Multimodal and Embodied Learning in Communities and Classrooms (2014). Tom’s dissertation explores identity constructions that rely on the articulation of the horse-human relationship as an essential element in navigating power relations of race, class, gender and species in contemporary literature and media in America. Also included, will be Tom’s interspecies ethnography with the Newark Mounted Police, and anticipated work at the Wallkill Correctional Facility’s Second
Chances Horse Program. Tom is co-founder of the feminist discussion group Locating Lysippe. She assists in the development of Equine Experiential Education workshops, and serves on the board of directors of Belos Cavalos, a health, education, and arts non-profit in Sonoma County, California. Tom is also a writing coach, editor, and poet. Her poems have appeared in Volt, and The Pomona Valley Review.

Erica Tom


Corey Waters, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Temple University

“To V or Not to V: Narratives, Networks, and Contingencies of Veganism”

Corey Waters is a Ph.D. candidate with the Department of Sociology at Temple University.  His dissertation examines how people come to participate in social movements, with a particular focus on veganism.  This inquiry involves analyzing, via narratives, how people who interact with vegan advocacy networks come to contemplate and embrace or reject veganism; and measuring via surveys the capacities of people in socioeconomically and racially contrasting neighborhoods to engage in a behavior and a movement such as veganism.  Waters advocates social justice in various venues.

Corey Waters


Justyna Włodarczyk, PhD, Assistant Professor,
University of Warsaw, Institute of English Studies

“Cultural History of Dog Training from the 1870s to the Present through the Frames of Ethics and Biopolitics”

Justyna Wlodarczyk is an assistant professor at the Institute of English Studies at the University of Warsaw  (Poland), where she teaches courses in American literature, culture, feminist theory and – most recently – animal studies. She is a former Fulbright fellow. Her current project analyzes discourses of animal training through the framework of biopolitics and ethics. She is co-editor of A Dog’s Life? People and Dogs in Contemporary Poland, published in Polish in 2014 and currently being translated into English. She has also published on contemporary feminist writings and the interplay of American and Polish popular constructions of gender. She used to be an active dog trainer with a focus on competitive dog sports. She now enjoys non-competitive sheepherding with her dogs.