Accessibility statement

Peter Sands



Peter joined the department in 2022 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity. After studying for a BA in English and History and an MA in English Literature at the University of Sheffield, he completed his WRoCAH-funded PhD in the School of English there in 2021. His research has been shaped by his participation in the Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre, a network of scholars in the interdisciplinary field of animal studies. 

Peter’s research focuses on the representation of nonhuman animals in 20th and 21st century American and British literature. More broadly, his interests include the relationship between literature and science, Cold War culture, animals and cinema, environmental techno-cultures, posthumanism, and critical theory. His current project traces the role played by 20th century security, countercultural, and cybercultural imaginaries in speculative approaches to the Anthropocene and biodiversity crisis. 



Peter’s research is concerned with the relationship between humans, animals, and technoscience in the culture of the Cold War period and in contemporary representations of environmental crisis. His first book project (in progress) examines the role played by animals in discourses of technological evolution during the Cold War. Focussing on a wide range of sources, including behavioural science, wildlife film, and the work of writers and filmmakers such as Thomas Pynchon, Octavia Butler, and Ken Russell, the book demonstrates that ideas about interconnection with nonhuman worlds fuel new forms of humanism in the science and culture of the period.

At LCAB, Peter is beginning work on a project that examines the mythologies of the future produced by biotechnological approaches to extinction and biodiversity loss. The project is split into three strands: the representation of both human and nonhuman extinction in nuclear literature; American countercultural literature and discourses of techno-optimism; and responses to projects of species revival and the reanimation of nature in contemporary art, literature, and film. The project investigates the fantasies that underpin both apocalyptic and optimistic visions of eco-futures, as well as how the speculation of such futures intersects with biopolitical discourses of species, race, and coloniality in the present. 

Peter has published chapters (in print and forthcoming) on the figure of the fossil in the work of J.G. Ballard, extinction and the politics of risk in Philip K. Dick, and satirical misanthropy in Kurt Vonnegut. He is the co-organiser with Sarah Bezan (York) of The Art and Science of Species Revival, an interdisciplinary symposium and special issue that will investigate the crossovers between art and science aroused by the prospect of de-extinction. With Mo O’Neill (Sheffield) and Samantha Hind (Sheffield) he is co-editing the forthcoming collection Creaturely Fear on animality and horror cinema. 


Peter would be pleased to supervise projects related to animal studies and the environmental humanities; contemporary literature/film, techno-culture, and science fiction; and posthumanism or critical theory more broadly. 

Contact details

Dr Peter Sands
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD