Laura Wright, head of the English department at WCU, delivered the keynote address at “Towards a Vegan Theory,” an interdisciplinary humanities conference held in late May at the University of Oxford and hosted by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.
Her book, “The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in an Age of Terror,” is credited with inspiring the topic of the conference at its web page.
“I seem to have founded a field of inquiry,” Wright said.
“The conference was about how we might use veganism – a refusal to eat animals or animal products or wear clothing made from animal products – as identity category and lived practice, as a lens for reading various texts,” she continued. “I spoke about my book, about the current U.S. presidential election, about North Carolina, about the Koch Brothers, and about the very real need for those of us in the humanities to speak up and offer a model for making rational connections between seemingly disparate things in what appear to be very irrational times.”
The event took place at Oxford University’s Wolfson College, and scholars from numerous fields – English, art history, religion, and anthropology – spoke on a variety of topics.
“It was a really wonderful experience for me, and it served to affirm that my work is resonating in a way I could never have imagined,” Wright said.
Since the book came out in 2015, Wright has given invited talks at Clemson University, Appalachian State University, the Georgia Center for the Book, and Warren Wilson College. “I will be speaking at the New School and at Wagner College – both in New York – in October, and I have been invited to give a keynote at the International School of Philosophy in the Netherlands in November,” she said.
The book was published by the University of Georgia Press.