Position title: Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2013-2014)
Animal Endings: Species Necropolitics in Contemporary Transnational Literature
Sarah Groeneveld’s dissertation examines the unexpected methods that contemporary authors use to address animal deaths. She argues that the animal endings in these texts change the narrative endings, causing ripples, breaks and fractures within the genres and modes of representation that the authors employ. By asking what animals do to literature, she suggests that each of her texts provides a different solution, approach or answer to the question of representing animals, an answer that can be found in terms of form and literary strategies. These authors (J.M. Coetzee, Yann Martel, Zadie Smith and Angela Rawlings) represent animal deaths that occur due to factory farming, scientific experimentation on animals, species extinction and the euthanasia of unwanted pets, and imagine ways of framing animals that have the potential to disrupt the idea of animal life as disposable or consumable. Her transnational context interrogates the often Western-centric discourse of animal studies and ecocriticism, and shows how animals, who often transgress human-created geopolitical boundaries, are still a part of global networks that exist between humans and their environments.
Sarah Groeneveld is a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow and a PhD Candidate in the department of English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also received an MA in 2010. Her research focuses on transnational literature and engages with the discourses of critical animal studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, biopolitics and posthumanism. Her dissertation has also been supported by a Wisconsin-Mellon Summer Dissertation Fellowship and the English department’s Sally Mead Hands Summer Dissertation Fellowship.