Kent Animal Humanities Network

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Picture Credit: Butterfly Book (2007). Andrea Roe in collaboration with Richard Brown. Photographed by Michael Wolchover.

Events Calendar

Upcoming events

January 29, 2024   [9-11am UK time] Wisdom of Crows: Fables, Science, Storytelling  (Online Workshop)

What can a crow fable teach us about the intelligence, cognitive abilities, and emotional lives of corvids?  What roles can scientists, ethologists, and multispecies ethnographers play in creating new crow fables befitting our evolving relationship with these amazing birds? This session brings together three leading crow experts to share their research in relation to fables, and to discuss how we might learn to listen to crows as co-fabulists, and the important lessons they have to impart.

Speakers:  Jo Wimpenny, Kaeli Swift, and Thom van Dooren

Chair: Matthew Churlew

Enquiries: Kaori Nagai  [E-mail: ]

To register, please click here 

Speaker bios

Jo Wimpennyis a zoologist and science writer based in Oxford, UK, with a research background in crow cognition and the history of science. Her DPhil investigated cognition in tool-using New Caledonian crows, and she then conducted postdoctoral research on the history of ornithology, co-authoring the award-winning Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology Since Darwin (Princeton U. Press, 2014) with Tim Birkhead and Bob Montgomerie. Her book, Aesop’s Animals: The Facts Behind the Fables (Bloomsbury Sigma, 2021), critically appraised the characterisation of some of Aesop’s best-known animal characters, asking how they match up against the latest scientific research. For her current project (to be published by Bloomsbury Wildlife), she is delving deeper into the origins and nature of human-animal relationships, focusing on beasts in our cultures that are typically villainised or misunderstood.

Kaeli Swift earned her PhD in avian behavioral ecology from the University of Washington. While there, she studied American crows, with a special emphasis on behaviors around death.  She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, where she is studying the breeding ecology of the Tinian monarch.  You can read her popular science articles on her blog,  You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok at the @corvidresearch handle.  Video, audio, and print reports of her research have been featured by: National Geographic, PBS, the New York Times, The Atlantic, Ologies podcast, Science Friday and many others

Thom van Dooren, FAHA, is Professor of Environmental Humanities and Deputy Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. His research and writing focus on some of the many philosophical, ethical, cultural, and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human entanglements with threatened species and places. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia UP 2014), The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds (Columbia UP 2019), and A World in a Shell: Snail Stories for a Time of Extinctions (MIT 2022).

Matthew Chrulew is Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. He is co-editor of Kin: Thinking with Deborah Bird Rose (Duke University Press, 2022), Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death and Generations (Columbia University Press, 2017), Foucault and Animals (Brill, 2016) and Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-Human Futures (Sydney University Press, 2015). He is series editor of Animalities (Edinburgh University Press). He has also co-edited numerous special issues of journals including Angelaki, SubStance and parallax.

The workshop is part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Rethinking Fables in the Age of Global Environmental Crisis’ (June 2023-May 2025), led by Dr. Kaori Nagai (University of Kent). For more information, please visit


Previous events

  • January 11, 2024   ‘As the spider extends its web, one’s destiny unfolds’: The Cultural Value of Spiders  (Online Workshop) Speakers: Nathan Morehouse (University of Cincinnati), Alberto Corsin Jimenez (ILLA-CSIC), and Cass Lynch (Curtin University)/ Chair: Lisa Jean Moore (SUNY)
  • December 8, 2023: Online Booklaunch, Maritime Animals: Ships, Species, Stories (Penn State University Press, Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures, 2023). Edited by Kaori Nagai   Interlocutors: Professor Santanu Das (Oxford) and Dr. Sarah Wade (University of East Anglia)
  • November 11, 2023  Rats!  Fabulation, Translation, Transmission  (Online Workshop)Speakers: Prof. Christos Lynteris (University of St. Andrews) , Prof. Lucinda Cole (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Dr Jia Hui Lee (University of Bayreuth), Dr. Jules Skotnes-Brown (University of St. Andrews), Rory Hutchings (University of Kent), Dr Kaori Nagai (University of Kent) 
  • 7 October 2023, Restorative Fables for Wild Canids (Online Workshop)  Speakers: Prof. Susan McHugh (University of New England), Prof. Karen Jones (Kent), Rosa Deen (Kent) / Chair: Prof. Jeanne Dubino (Appalachian State University)
  • 21 June 21 2023: Robert McKay and Susan McHugh, ‘Animal Satire as an Ongoing Fable Tradition’  (talk and pre-book launch)
  • 22 May 2022, 2-3pm: ‘Box Office Bears’ with Professor Hannah O’Regan (Nottingham) and Dr Andy Kesson (Roehampton) on their collaborative AHRC-funded research project ‘Box Office Bears’ and bear-baiting in early modern England.
  • 15 November 2022   New Voices in Animal Humanities (Research talk symposium) 
      • Rosa Deen, Where the Wild Dogs are: The environmental history and present choreography of human – wild dog relations in the context of nature conservation practices in KwaZulu-Natal & Limpopo, South Africa
      • Rory Hutchings, ‘The pasture of rats’: Verminous Bodies of the First World War
      • Bharanee Moothoosamy,  Extinction on a Paradisal Island: Re-storying the Life and Death of the Dodo through Art and Literature
  • 5 October 2022  Public Lecture: Nigel Allsopp, ‘The Hidden Victims of War: Animals in the Ukraine War and other Military Conflicts8-9 November 2021   ANIMAL / PRIVACY: Historical and Conceptual Approaches (Online Workshop) in collaboration with the Centre for Privacy Studies (University of Copenhagen). Please click here for more information
  • KAHN lunchtime talks  (Spring 2021) 
    • 12 February 2021  Emilia Czatkowska (School of Arts), ‘The Call: a More-than-Human Approach to Film Sound’
    • 26 February 2021  Keith Dunmall (School of History), ‘Wind your neck in! A display of male dominance through Giraffes in the Natural History Museum, London’                                                                              
  • 24 October 2020: Sum Poasyum! – celebrating Riddley Walker. KANH panel: ‘Animal Apocalypses: Dogs and other animals’ (chair: Kaori Nagai)
    • Prof. Karen Jones, Dog Tales and the Apocalypse
    • Dr. Angelos Evangelou, Dogs and Border-Crossing
    • Prof. Charlotte Sleigh: ‘It aint us but yet its in us’: Riddley Walker and the beast within
  • Kent Animal Humanities Lecture series (Virtual): Summer 2020 [abstracts ]
    • 27 May 2020: Jane Spencer, ‘I Was An Ass’: Writing about Animals in the Age of Revolution
    • 3 June 2020:  Jeanne Dubino, Global Subjects: Street Dogs in Modern and Contemporary World Literature
    • 10 June 2020: Lucinda Cole (with Rajani Sudan), ‘Great Mortalities’: Animal Plagues, Human Health, and the Medical Posthumanities
  • 7 November 2019 , ‘Mad Dogs, Englishmen and Lascars: Animals and Indian Ocean Seafaring’ by Aaron Jaffer (Curator at Royal Museums Greenwich); Postcolonial Seminar Series: abstract
  • 25-27 April 2019: Maritime Animals: Telling Stories of Animals at Sea. Two and half-day international conference. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK; Organser: Dr. Kaori Nagai
  • Animal Activism: An Animal Studies Forum.  Guest speaker : Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan (UNSW), ‘What has an Animal Activist done for you Lately? / Roundtable: Peter Adkins (School of English), Kristof Dhont (School of Psychology), Charlotte Sleigh (School of History)  16 November 2018.
  • Pest (a day event with artist performances, workshops, film, animal expert-led tours), Turner Contemporary. Organiser: Rose Thompson. 16 September 2018. Full programme.
  • Horses and Courts: The Reins of Power. An International Symposium. The Wallace Collection, London. Organiser: Prof. Donna Landry, 21-23 March 2018)
  • Birds and Writing​. Speakers: Nicholas Royle, Alex Preston​, Ben Hickman. Organiser: Dr. Sarah Wood (9 February 2018)
  • John Miller (Sheffield), ‘Utopian Protein: Eating Well in the World to Come’ (7 February 2018, the School of English research seminar). Abstract
  • Animal Trophies and Colonial Atrophy: Exploring the Image of Trophy Hunting in Contemporary Literature, Film and Art’ – Matthew Whittle (Kent), 12 October, 16:00
  • Human-Animal Tensions and the Figure of the Melancholy Whale’ – Graham Huggan (Leeds), 19 October, 16:00
  • Writing Animals symposium, March 3 2017
  • H.G. Wells Lecture 2017 -“Good Mothers” and “King Tyrants” in the Mesozoic: An Anthropology of Dinosaur Science and Spectacle – Prof Brian Noble (Dalhousie University, Canada), March 1, 2017
  • Kent Animal Humanities Network Annual Symposium 2016 (September 16, 2016). Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.
  • Book Launch: Cosmopolitan Animals (March 8, 2016). Grimond Lecture Theatre 2, University of Kent. Guest speaker: Dr. Amanda Rees (University of York), ‘Anthropomorphising the Anthropocene: The Pragmatics, Politics and Poetics of Animal Agency’
  • Animal Humanities (School of English Research Seminar Series / Spring Term, 2015). Darwin Lecture Theatre 3, University of Kent.
    • January 21: Jonathan Burt, ‘The Birds Watch the Humans (Thoughts on Raymond Bellour, Helen Macdonald, Vinciane Despret, and Thomas Bewick)’
    • February 18: Margaret Salmon, ‘Oyster: A Discussion of Marine Fantasy and “Natural” History’ (with a screening of the short film Oyster, 2014)
    • March 18: Dr. Lynn Turner (Goldsmiths), ‘Thinking “Outside the Vox”’
    • March 25: Dr. Saurabh Mishra (Sheffield), ‘From the Regal to the Holy: The Symbolic Meanings of Animals in Colonial India’
    • April 1: Professor Garry Marvin (Roehampton), ‘The Art of Tracking: Engaging with Animal Traces’

26-27 October 2012:  Cosmopolitan Animals, an international conference, at the Institute of English Studies, University of London. Keynote speakers: Professor Donna Haraway and Professor Simon Glendinning