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Lucinda Cole

Associate Professor, Conrad Humanities Scholar, Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Job Placement Officer

Research Interests

Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century British Literature; Animal Studies; Gender Studies; Literature and Science; Environmental Humanities

My research over the past ten years has been shaped by several new interdisciplinary fields: Animal Studies, Science Studies, Food Studies, and Environmental Humanities. My book Imperfect Creatures: Vermin, Literature, and the Sciences of Life, 1600-1750 explores how seventeenth- and eighteenth-century art and literature register and address environmental pressures during The Little Ice Age, when widespread food insecurity marked rodents, birds, and other small creatures as material and symbolic threats to fragile food supplies. More recent and forthcoming work attends to zoonotic disease and ecological pressures in several historical and geographic contexts. 


  • B.A. English, Auburn University, 1981
  • M.A. English, Louisiana State University, 1987
  • Ph.D. English, Louisiana State University. Distinction, 1990

Additional Campus Affiliations

Affiliate Professor, Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

Highlighted Publications

Cole, L. (2016). Imperfect Creatures: Vermin, Literature, and the Sciences of Life, 1600-1740. University of Michigan Press.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Cole, L. (2024). Posthuman ecologies. In The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Literatures in English (pp. 513-526). Taylor and Francis.

Cole, L. (2023). Defoe and Ecology. In N. Seager, & A. Downie (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Daniel Defoe (Oxford Handbooks). Oxford University Press.

Cole, L. (2022). Before The Thing: Viruses, Sled Dogs, Seabirds, and Science Fiction. In S. Bezan, & R. McKay (Eds.), Animal Remains (Perspectives on the Non-Human in Literature and Culture). Routledge.

Cole, L. (2021). Aliens, Plagues, One Health, and the Medical Posthumanities. Configurations, 29(4), 453-467.

Cole, L. (2021). Plagues, Poisons, and Dead Rats: A Multispecies History. In S. McHugh, R. McKay, & J. Miller (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature (pp. 589-603). (Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature). Palgrave Macmillan.

View all publications on Illinois Experts