Dr Kaori Nagai

Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature
+44 (0)1227 827290


Kaori Nagai specialises in colonial discourses of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and her recent research focuses on the intersections between animal studies and postcolonial studies. She is the author of two monographs: Empire of Analogies: Kipling, India and Ireland (2006), and Imperial Beast Fables: Cosmopolitanism, and the British Empire (2020). She has also edited, with an introduction and notes, Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills and the Jungle Books for Penguin Classics, and co-edited Kipling and Beyond: Patriotism, Globalisation and Postcolonialism (2010). She is a founding member of the Kent Animal Humanities Network, and has edited a collection of essays entitled Cosmopolitan Animals (2015, chief editor) with five animal studies colleagues at Kent.

Her recent projects include the representation of animals on board ships. She held a Caird Short-Term Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum on the topic of sea-faring rats in the age of the British Empire, and edited a collection called Maritime Animals: Ships, Species, Stories (2023). She leads the AHRC-funded Networking Project ‘Rethinking Fables in the Age of Global Environmental Crisis’ (June 2023-May 2025); it aims to explore the importance of nonhuman fables and to develop new theories and practices of the genre in light of the current environmental crisis and many other challenges.
Kaori’s other research interests include cosmopolitanism, transnational networks, and migrant experiences. She has also researched on the Esperanto movement in Britain in the first decades of the 20th century (a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust). Another area of interest is literary and critical theory, and she edited a special issue on ‘Dream Writing’ (2008). 


Kaori would be happy to supervise doctoral research relating to animal studies and/or postcolonial studies. She'd be particularly keen to supervise in areas which touch on her current interests: animals, animal literature and theory, fables, the sea, empire, colonial fiction, global movements, cosmopolitanism, language and translation.


  • Kipling Society​ (a council member)
  • PSA (Postcolonial Studies Association; Newsletter editor 2008-2011)
  • British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA), Fellow
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