Logan O'Laughlin, PhD
I am joining Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke after just receiving my Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington. After catapulting across the country from the Pacific Northwest, I am enjoying getting to know the diverse flora and fauna of Durham and I have appreciated the rich academic community of GSF since my arrival. I’ve been relishing Dr. Wald & Dr. Rosenberg’s seminar, “What Has Life Become?” and am also involved with DECIPHER Bass Connections Project, providing guidance on students’ interdisciplinary research projects on drinking water safety. I am grateful for the numerous writing workshops, GSF panels, and collaborations with others in the past couple months.
I have also been working on a series of publications this semester. One article, based on a chapter of my dissertation, is under review at Feminist Studies, and I’ve also been developing a chapter for the Routledge Handbook on the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality. I am currently collaborating with a queer eco-justice scholar and friend on a piece for Transgender Studies Quarterly urging us to think through transgender and environmental justice together. I am looking forward to continuing these conversations as I am developing my book manuscript.
My book project, Toxic Animal Encounters: Queer Environmental Threats & Racialized Reproduction Anxieties, traces contemporary panics about environmental toxins and their effects on sex, sexuality, and reproduction in North America. Through analysis of these panics expressed in popular media and scientific journals, I argue that nonhuman animals function as bellwethers for the longevity of white, heterosexual human reproduction. I explore this in three environmental scandals: (1) scientific reports of pesticide runoff causing frogs to develop as intersex; (2) media responses to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that disproportionately focus on the reproductive health of pelicans; and (3) farmers’ anxieties about feral pigs overpopulating the U.S.
I’m looking forward to what the rest of my year in GSF will bring, including teaching a First-Year Seminar in the spring, entitled “Feminism and the Environment.” Focusing on North Carolina as a location of environmental justice, we’ll look at how environmental violence intersects with oppression based on race, class, gender, and sexuality in several sites, including toxic waste disposal, animal agriculture, overpopulation panics, and birth control.