Keynote Speakers

Lucas Bessire – Depletion: Elegy for an Aquifer

Lucas Bessire is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. His work addresses environmental change, politics and genres across the Americas, from the Gran Chaco to the Arctic.  Author of Behold the Black Caiman: a Chronicle of Ayoreo Life (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and creator of the Ayoreo Video Project (2017), he is the recipient of various awards and fellowships. Currently he is completing an auto-ethnography of aquifer depletion on the High Plains.


Laura Kipnis – “Must there always be a goat?”

Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic and former video artist whose work focuses on sexual politics, aesthetics, emotion, acting out, bad behavior, and various other crevices of the American psyche. Her latest book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, was prompted by becoming the subject of a Title IX investigation for writing an essay. Her six previous books, which include Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation,How to Become A Scandal, and  Against Love: A Polemic, have been translated into fifteen languages. The essay that started the trouble, “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe,” was included in The Best American Essays 2016,edited by Jonathan Franzen. Kipnis has contributed essays and reviews to The Guardian, New York Review of Books, Atlantic,  Harper’sPlayboy, the New York Times MagazineNew York Times Book ReviewBookforum, and elsewhere. She is a professor in the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern where she teaches filmmaking.


Yamini Narayanan – ”Save Cow, Save India!” India’s ‘cow politics’ and the optics of species, gender and caste vulnerabilities

Yamini Narayanan is Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her work explores the ways in which (other) animals are instrumentalised in sectarian, casteist and even fascist ideologies in India. Yamini’s research is supported by two Australian Research Council grants. Yamini’s work on animals, race, and development has been published in leading journals including Environment and Planning A, Environment and Planning D, Geoforum, Hypatia, South Asia, Society and Animals, and Sustainable Development. Yamini is founding convenor of the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network. She is a lifelong Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, an honour that is conferred through nomination or invitation only.