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Sarah Bezan

Profile

Biography

Sarah Bezan joined the department in 2020 as Postdoctoral Research Associate in Perceptions of Biodiversity Change at The University of York's Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity. From 2018-2020, she held a British Academy Newton International Fellowship at The University of Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre, where she researched shifting cultural understandings of extinction as imagined by 21st century storytellers, artists, and scientific illustrators. This project was inspired by a paleodig expedition she undertook in 2016 that was operated by the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, located on Treaty 1 territory, the home of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. During this paleodig, Sarah unearthed the bones of an 80 million year old mosasaur (known as the ‘T-Rex of the Sea’), and became fascinated with the cross-pollination of the arts and sciences in the creative representation of extinct species.

Continuing her work in the emerging field of extinction studies, Sarah’s current research focuses on the entangled social and ecological dimensions of species loss and revival in contemporary British and settler colonial literature and visual culture. She serves as founder and co-convenor of the Cultures of Species Revivalism Research Group, an interdisciplinary research network dedicated to examining approaches to de-extinction science: the prospect of resurrecting extinct species through gene editing, selective breeding, and reproductive cloning technologies. In addition, Sarah is a founding member of the UK Future Earth Early Career and Research Practitioner Network at Kings College London, a research associate with the Digital Animalities Project at York University (Canada), and a former visiting fellow of the Rachel Carson Centre for the Environment. From 2020-2022, she is PI and Co-PI on two British Academy/Royal Irish Academy seed funding grants related to coastal (post)humanities and speculative Anthropocenes.

Research

Overview

Sarah’s expertise intersects the fields of feminist environmental humanities, extinction studies, settler colonial studies, science and technology studies (STS), and Darwinist/evolutionary literary studies. 

Her first book, Dead Darwin: Necro-Ecologies in Neo-Victorian Culture (under advance contract with Manchester University Press) examines how twentieth and twenty-first century authors and artists reimagine Darwin’s thinking on decompositional processes through the necro-ecological agency of earthworms, snails, corals, fish, and fungi. 

Her second book (in progress) addresses how species revivalist desires aroused by the prospect of de-extinction science illustrate the often contradictory ways in which particular species come to be culturally and conservationally valued as “reproducible” in a biotechnological age.

Sarah’s editorial work includes Animal Remains (with Robert McKay, Routledge) and Seeing Animals After Derrida (with James Tink, Lexington) along with a special issue on “Taxidermic Forms and Fictions” with Susan McHugh for Configurations: Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology. She is also developing two forthcoming special issues: one on “Sex and Nature” with Ina Linge for the Environmental Humanities Journal and another on “Interdisciplinary Coastal Humanities” with Rich Gorman and James Smith for Anthropocenes: Human, Inhuman, Posthuman.

Supervision

Sarah would be pleased to supervise students who are developing projects related to contemporary literature and visual culture, and in particular topics related to animal studies and posthumanism; extinction studies; Neo-Victorianism; environmental humanities; blue humanities; settler coloniality; gender and sexuality; and transmediality.

Contact details

Dr Sarah Bezan
University of York
Heslington
York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD