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Summer Section

Graduate students are eligible to enroll in the annual summer institutes, which alternate between the Caffyn Institute, taught by KU English faculty, and the Holmes Institute, taught by visiting faculty. Below you'll find the course description for the 2021 summer institute as well as past institute instructors.

2021 Caffyn Summer Institute

ENGL 790: Animals Studies and Literature

Instructor: Phillip Drake (

This course examines animals in literature along with the emergence of animal studies as a field of inquiry. Embodying a complicated set of interdisciplinary tools and perspectives, animal studies scholarship prompts exploration into the lives of animals, focusing particularly on interactions between human and nonhuman animals.

These bodies and relationships provoke complicated and often uncomfortable questions that challenge conventional understandings of a host of issues, including kinship, care, embodiment, individuality, power, precarity, death, extinction, and living well. Furthermore, interactions between human and nonhuman animals often intersect with constructions of gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sex, inviting consideration of justice and social awareness at various scales, from the body and household to the nation and globe.

In addition to covering a diverse range of literature, we will explore various disciplinary (literary, anthropological, biological, ethological, psychological, etc.) and theoretical (queer, postcolonial, feminist, existentialist, poststructural, posthuman, ecocritical, etc.) lineages that animate (and are animated by) multispecies studies.

This course is designed to appeal to graduate students with diverse interests and investments in animals and animal encounters (textual or otherwise). Beyond short written work and presentations/moderations, students will complete their choice of final project:

  1. a research article/paper
  2. a creative riff on a research paper
  3. a creative paper that engages rigorously with relevant theoretical issues/traditions.

Likely texts will include: Ackerley, We Think the World of You; Barclay, Melal; Coetzee, The Lives of Animals; Kang, The Vegetarian; Le Guin, Word for World is Forest; Schweblin, Fever Dream;Ward, Salvage the Bones; Wells, Island of Dr. Moreau;Woolf, Flush; and other literary and critical works that will be posted on Blackboard.

Past Summer Institutes

1991  Sharon O’Brien, Dickinson College

1992  Constance Penley, UCSB

1993  Eric Sundquist, UCLA

1994  Scott Russell Sanders, Indiana

1995  Nancy Armstrong, Brown

1996  Paul Fussell, Penn

1997  Valerie Wayne, Hawaii

1998  Myra Jehlen, Rutgers

1999  Mary Poovey, NYU

2000  Susan K. Harris, Penn State

2001  Frances Dolan, Miami of Ohio

2002  Dana Nelson, Kentucky

2003  Helena Michie, Rice

2004  Alan Golding, Louisville

2005  John P. Farrell, Texas

2006  Priscilla Ward, Duke

2007  Karma Lochrie, Indiana

2008  Susan Gubar, Indiana

2010  Lawrence Buell, Harvard

2012  Patrick Brantlinger, Indiana

2014  N. Katherine Hayles, Duke

2016  Wendy Wheeler, London Metropolitan

2018   Cary Wolfe, Rice

2020   Jeffrey Masten, Northwestern

2017    Giselle Anatol, KU

2019    Kij Johnson, KU

2021    Phil Drake, KU