Corey Lee Wrenn, PhD is an American sociologist specializing in animals and society, the animal rights movement, ecofeminism, and vegan studies.
Dr. Wrenn is Lecturer in Sociology and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements with the University of Kent in Canterbury, England in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. She was previously a Lecturer of Sociology and Director of Gender Studies (2016-2018) with Monmouth University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology with Colorado State University in 2016 and her M.S. in Sociology and B. A. in Political Science in 2008 and 2005 respectively from Virginia Tech. She was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar, 2016 by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She served as council member with the American Sociological Association’s Animals & Society section (2013-2016), was elected Chair in 2018, and is the co-founder of the International Association of Vegan Sociologists.
Dr. Wrenn serves as Book Review Editor to Society & Animals and member of The Vegan Society’s Research Advisory Committee. She has contributed to the Human-Animal Studies Images and Cinema blogs for the Animals and Society Institute. She has been published in several peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Gender Studies, Environmental Values, Feminist Media Studies, Disability & Society, Food, Culture & Society, and Society & Animals. In July 2013, she founded the Vegan Feminist Network, an academic-activist project engaging intersectional social justice praxis. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory (Palgrave MacMillan 2016), Piecemeal Protest: Animal Rights in the Age of Nonprofits (University of Michigan Press 2019), and Animals in Irish Society (SUNY Press 2021).
Dr. Wrenn grew up in a lower-income, resource-extractive community in southern Appalachia, inspiring her passion for social justice and social change. Her graduate work with Virginia Tech reflects this heritage, investigating social and environmental inequality in southwestern Virginia through historical comparative content analysis.
More recently, Dr. Wrenn’s research builds on social movement theory to explore relationships between humans and other animals and animal liberation efforts. Her work explores the role of factionalism in social movements under the shadow of movement professionalization. Her work also prioritizes theories of intersectionality and oppression, particularly that which manifests within social justice spaces.
History of Service
As reflected in her contributions to public sociology, Dr. Wrenn is also committed to maintaining bridges between academic institutions and the vulnerable communities and activists who stand to benefit from critical sociological research. Dr. Wrenn has been actively involved in working towards positive social change long before entering her academic career. As a high school student, she served as a crew member for the U.S. Forest Service’s Youth Conservation Corps in the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forests. In college, she continued this environmental and community stewardship as a Crew Supervisor for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Youth Conservation Corps program in Virginia State Parks. This program serves at-risk youths and teens from vulnerable backgrounds.
As a university student, she was also heavily involved in student activism, acting as president to the Virginia Tech animal rights and environmental awareness organization and founding the animal rights student organization at Colorado State University. Additionally, she has worked as an emergency caseworker for the Virginia Department of Social Services in Child Protection and has volunteered for the Virginia Tech English Language Institute and the Roanoke Valley Total Action Against Poverty. She continues to volunteer with a number of social justice collectives today, namely with The Vegan Society, the International Association of Vegan Sociologists, and the Sociology & Animals Podcast.
Corey Lee Wrenn, PhD
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Press and Promotional Materials
Dr. Wrenn’s work has been featured by The Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, The Vegan Society, The Feminist Wire, Everyday Sociology, Sociological Images. A full list of her academic publications is available here.
A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory
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“In her insightful analysis, Wrenn skillfully makes the case for a rational, scientific approach calling for the elimination of animal oppression . . . ” – Journal of Animal Ethics
“Corey Lee Wrenn challenges the conventional thought of the nonhuman animal rights movements that promotes a neoliberal, capitalist agenda that reinforces rather than ends speciesism . . . Wrenn’s groundbreaking book provides a critical analysis of the two major perspectives within nonhuman animal rights organizations: animal welfarism and abolitionism.” – Contemporary Sociology
Piecemeal Protest: Animal Rights in the Age of Nonprofits
University of Michigan Press 2020
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“Corey Wrenn’s book highlights the ubiquity of ‘symbol mining’ from radical faactions by professional ones; the consolidation of movement power by the ‘nonprofit industrial complex’; and the vulnerability of the NPIC to co-optation by the state and capital. Piecmeeal Protest provides an invaluable critical sociological analysis, both in terms of social movement scholarship and for the lessons it contains for the NHA movement.” – Dr. Matthew Cole, The Open University
“Piecemeal Protest will make an important contribution to the literature and will be of significant interest to countless scholars and activists across disciplines and social justice movements. It will capture the interest of general readers and will further their ability for critical thought and praxis. This book will be valuable in a range of university courses, from social movement classes, to the growing number of animals and society courses emerging throughout the world, to women’s studies courses.” – Dr. David Nibert, Wittenberg University