Dr. Nicole Shukin

Dr. Nicole Shukin
Associate Professor
Office: CLE C332

MA (Calgary), PhD (Alberta)

Area of expertise

Theories of biopower; politics of nature and animals; cultures of globalization

Nicole Shukin is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria, and member of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT). She specializes in Canadian Literature, cultural studies (with a focus on theories of biopower, animal studies, and the politics of nature), and poststructuralist, (post)Marxist, and posthumanist theory.

In 2005, Dr. Shukin completed a Ph.D. in English at the University of Alberta. The book arising out of her dissertation, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times, advances a cultural-materialist politics of mimesis via the rubric of "rendering." Among other things, rendering connotes technologies and economies of representation (computer animation technologies, for instance, are called "renderers") and the carnal business of boiling down and recycling animal remains. An interest in developing such critical linkages between cultural and material traffics in "nature" at specific historical conjunctures informs her current research and teaching.

Dr. Shukin has contributed to edited volumes like the Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies (2018), Animal Life and the Moving Image (2015), and Material Cultures (2015). She has published in the journals Postmodern Culture, English Studies in Canada (ESC), CR: The New Centennial Review, Canadian Literature, and The Dalhousie Review.

Recent graduate courses include seminars on "Indigenous and Diasporic Literatures in Canada" (2012), "Zoo-texts: the Trace of the Animal in Contemporary Theory and Literature" (2009), "Forest Fetish: Reading the Nature of the West Coast" (2008) and "The Politics of Nature in the Era of Pandemic Capital" (an interdisciplinary seminar taught through the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought program at UVic). Recent undergraduate teaching includes courses on posthumanism, contemporary Canadian fiction and on the fiction of J.M. Coetzee.

Selected book publications

Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times.

Volume 6 in the Posthumanities Series (Ed. Cary Wolfe). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

The juxtaposition of two terms rarely theorized in conjunction, "animal" and "capital," signals the double-edged intervention this book makes within the field of cultural studies. On the one hand, Animal Capital constitutes a resolutely materialist engagement with the emergent question of the animal, challenging its predominantly idealist treatments in critical theory and animal studies by tracking the ways that animal life gets culturally and carnally rendered as capital. On the other hand, by developing a series of unorthodox genealogies of animal capital across a range of (neo)colonial times and spaces, the book seeks to rectify a critical blindspot in Marxist and post-Marxist theory around the nodal role of animals, ideologically and materially, to the reproduction of capital. Arguing that a conjugated inquiry into the historical entanglements of animal life and capital is pivotal to an analysis of biopower, Shukin elaborates "rendering" as a theoretical rubric for engaging this task, with provocative implications for discussions of mimesis and mobility, race and species, affect and alterity.

Selected journal publications

"Food" in The Cambridge Companion to Environmental Humanities, eds. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Stephanie Foote. Cambridge University Press, 2021 (141-155). 


"The Biopolitics of Animal Love: Two Settler Stories" in The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature, eds. S, McHugh, R. McKay, and J. Miller. Palgrave Macmillan, 2021 (541-556). 


"Animal Studies, Indigenous Spacecraft." Frame: Journal of Literary Studies. No. 31.1 May 2018 (71-92). 


"Precarious Encounters" in Exploring Animal Encounters: Philosophical, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives. Eds. Matthew Calarco and Dominik Ohrem. Palgrave MacMillan, 2018 (113-136). 


“Capitalism” in Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies. Eds. Ron Broglio, Undine Sellbach, and Lynn Turner. Edinburgh University Press, 2018 (94-114)


“The Biopolitics of Living – and Art of Dying – After Fukushima.” Postmodern Culture, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2016. Project MUSE: doi: 10.1353/pmc2016.0009


Nicole Shukin and Sarah O’Brien, “Being Struck: On The Force of Slaughter and Cinematic Affect.” Animal Life and the Moving Image. Eds. Michael Lawrence and Laura McMahon. London, UK: British Film Institute, 2015 (187-202).


“Materializing Climate Change: Images of Exposure, States of Exception.” Material Cultures. Eds. Thomas Allen and Jennifer Blair. Wilfrid University Press, 2015 (189-208).


"Security Bonds: On Feeling Power and the Fiction of an Animal Governmentality." ESC: English Studies in Canada. Vol. 39, Issue 1, March 2013 (177-198).


"Tense Animals: On Other Species of Pastoral Power." ,CR: The New Centennial Review. Special issue on Animals in Theory, ed. David Clark. Vol.11, No.2, 2011 (143-166).


"Transfections of Animal Touch, Techniques of Biosecurity." Social Semiotics. Special Issue on Touch. Eds. Anne Cranny-Francis and Cathy Hawkins. Vol. 21, Issue 4. 2011(483-501).


"Ecological Citizenship, Ecological Melancholia: The Ruins of Stanley Park." Dalhousie Review. Special Issue on Canada and the Environment. Eds. Claire Campbell and Carrie Dawson. Vol. 7, Spring 2010 (84-103).


"The Hidden Labour of Reading Pleasure." Reader's Forum: Why Do I Have to Read Like That? English Studies in Canada (ESC). Vol. 33, Issue 1-2, March/June 2009 (23-27).


"The Mimetics of Mobile Capital." Against Automobility. Eds. Steffen Bohm, Campbell Jones, Chris Land and Matthew Paterson. Oxford, U.K: Blackwell Publishing, 2006 (150-174).


"Deleuze and Feminisms: Involuntary Regulators and Affective Inhibitors." Deleuze and Feminist Theory. Eds. Ian Buchanan and Claire Colebrook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000 (144-155).


"Essaii: Four Autobiographical Essays On a Materialist Feminism." Prairie Fire. Volume 16, No. 3, 1995 (139-48).


"A Typickle: Reading for Error in bpNichol's The Martyrology." Beyond the Orchard: Essays on The Martyrology. Eds. Roy Miki and Fred Wah. Vancouver: West Coast Line, 1997 (7-13).