WCU faculty member’s book looks at perceptions of veganism

Laura Wright, head of the Department of English at Western Carolina University, is author of the newly published book “The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals and Gender in the Age of Terror.”

Laura Wright

Laura Wright

Published by the University of Georgia Press, the book is billed as “the foundational text for the nascent field of vegan studies.”

In her book, Wright examines the social and cultural discourses shaping society’s perceptions of veganism as an identity category and social practice. She discusses the frequent intersection of veganism and animal rights, and focuses on the depiction of the vegan body – both male and female – in contemporary works of literature, pop culture, advertising and new media, especially in light of what she terms “post-9/11 anxieties over American strength and virility.”

Wright said that her book is her attempt to explore, understand and challenge society’s notions of the culturally loaded term “vegan.”

“My hope is that this project helps place veganism within a social and historical context that will allow for a greater understanding of its increasing impact – in whatever form that impact may take,” she said.

Wright will discuss her book at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. She also will be joined by Carol Adams, author of “The Sexual Politics of Meat” and of the forward in Wright’s book, for a discussion at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Malaprop’s in Asheville.

A faculty member at WCU since 2005, Wright specializes in postcolonial literatures and theory, ecocriticism and animal studies. Her publications include “Writing Out of All the Camps: J. M. Coetzee’s Narratives of Displacement” and “Wilderness into Civilized Shapes: Reading the Postcolonial Environment.”