The campaign to promote veganism by exposing the destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

‘The Vegan Studies Project’: An exploration of veganism as an identity and ideology

0

Being vegan is being radically oppositional to so much of what we are indoctrinated to do – including the ways that we are meant to consume. Being vegan means that you kind of have to stop and assess every decision that you make in relation to what you wear, what you drive, what you eat. And that means that you have to stop and think rather than blindly consume. That’s a threat to capitalism, and, really, that’s a threat that our society will not comfortably tolerate.

SARX: Laura Wright is Professor of English at Western Carolina University and author of the book The Vegan Studies Project, which explores veganism as an identity and ideology, and considers its depiction in literature, the arts, popular culture, and the media…

Tell us about your book The Vegan Studies Project.

I have been vegan since 2001, and I was vegetarian before that; I became vegetarian when I started college in 1988. I have written about my journey to veganism (by way of an eating disorder) in Defiant Daughters. The Vegan Studies Project was my third monograph study, and it was the first work that I had written that examined US culture and media. It was published in 2015, and I have since gone on to edit and co-edit three scholarly volumes on vegan studies…

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

A lot of things led to the book. I am in many ways a cultural studies scholar, and I had been very interested in the ways that vegans were portrayed in the media – particularly as the portrayals tending to be so negative and did not correspond with the reality of actual vegans that I knew. I wanted to examine why vegans where depicted in the ways that I was seeing, so I started collecting any image and/or reference to veganism that I could find…

Why do some people perceive veganism and threatening?

I think in many ways vegans sort of make non-vegans aware of the choices that they’ve made with regard to what they eat. If someone is not eating animals and you are eating them, then you have to think about what that means – and you have to come up against some potential discomfort in terms of knowing that you might be complicit and participating in an institution of great cruelty. It’s like a kind of reflex. I also think there has been so much crap (for lack of a better term) out there about veganism being emasculating that many men feel that not eating meat means that they are weak or feminine. Which is utter nonsense. But at its core, I think that being vegan is being radically oppositional to so much of what we are indoctrinated to do – including the ways that we are meant to consume. Being vegan means that you kind of have to stop and assess every decision that you make in relation to what you wear, what you drive, what you eat. And that means that you have to stop and think rather than blindly consume. That’s a threat to capitalism, and, really, that’s a threat that our society will not comfortably tolerate…

How might vegan studies change and grow in coming years? Will students be taking degrees in vegan studies in the near future?

I wish! I know that there are universities out there that offer courses in vegan studies, but I also know that it’s unlikely that there’s that big of a niche to make such an undertaking – on a large scale – viable. And I’m also hyper aware of what’s happening in with education in the US at present. There is so much pushback against teaching students anything that deviates from or questions a supposed norm that imagines the US as a land of equality and prosperity for all. In many ways, it’s scary to be a college professor in a climate that feels so virulently anti-education. But I hope we can move past this chapter and come out somewhere kinder and more tolerant. SOURCE…

RELATED VIDEO: