Musings

Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death and Generations

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016

Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death and Generations

We have now finalised our new edited collection: Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death and Generations, to be published by Columbia University Press in May 2017. The collection includes seven chapters by members of our group, along with an introduction by the editors and a foreword by Cary Wolfe. “Foreword” Cary Wolfe “Telling Extinction Stories: An Introduction” Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren and Matthew Chrulew “Walking with ?kami, the Large-Mouthed Pure God” James Hatley “Saving the Golden Lion Tamarin” Matthew Chrulew “Extinction in a Distant Land: The Question...

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Ethics in the Field: How far should we go to bring back lost species?

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015

Ethics in the Field: How far should we go to bring back lost species?

Translocation, captive breeding, somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning), back-breeding, gene and seed banking—the list goes on. Today, there are a whole range of different technologies and techniques aimed at holding on to, or even resurrecting, species that might already be thought of as “lost” in some significant sense. My inclination is not to definitively rule any of these interventions in or out in an absolutist manner. Rather, in a mode of thought coloured by Donna Haraway’s “cyborg politics”—which refuses both technophobia and technophilia—my approach to the complex...

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Encountering Crows: Living with wildlife in a changing world

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015

Encountering Crows: Living with wildlife in a changing world

Thom van Dooren: I am currently beginning work on a new 3-4 year research project focused on crows around the world. Below are a few excerpts from a recent grant application, stitched together to give a sense of my larger project and research questions. This research is funded by the Humboldt Foundation and the Australian Research Council. This project explores the dynamic interface between people and wildlife in this period of incredible social and environmental transformation. As a consequence of interwoven processes of climate change, increased urbanisation, escalating biodiversity...

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Wildlife, Climate Change and Mass Death

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014

Wildlife, Climate Change and Mass Death

Deborah Rose: January 2014 – Australia has just come through its hottest year on record, and the new year is bringing ever more record breaking heat. ‘Weather on steroids’ is how the Australian Conservation Foundation puts it. Those who experience the heat most relentlessly are wildlife. Possums get burnt feet from walking on hot surfaces, and birds fall out of the sky dead from heat, individuals wander around in a daze, and many stumble and fall, never to get up. Most vulnerable are flying-foxes, also known as megabats or giant fruit bats. Of the four Pteropus species in Australia,...

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Keeping Faith with Death: Mourning and De-extinction

Posted by on Nov 10, 2013

Keeping Faith with Death: Mourning and De-extinction

This post was written by Thom van Dooren and Deborah Rose. It is the text of a short presentation delivered at “Dangerous Ideas in Zoology,” the 2013 forum of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. ___ For roughly the past five years, our combined research has focused on extinction. Drawing on the resources of the humanities – in particular philosophy and ethnographic work with local communities – we’ve explored what this particular form of mass death means for those caught up in it. How does extinction undermine various lives and livelihoods? How are funerary...

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Zombie Politics and the Lives of Animals

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013

Zombie Politics and the Lives of Animals

Deborah Rose: Virtues are easily lost, the cynics tell us, but vices linger remorselessly. Indeed, vice-like habits can take on a life of their own and play significant social roles. Recent events have turned my thoughts toward habits of hatred, fear-mongering and persecution that are entrenched within the harsh histories of western nations. Persecution, vilification and harm are part of today’s public discourse and public policy. They have a long history, and are foundational to what the historian R. I. Moore political calls a ‘persecuting society’. Check out the rest of this blog post...

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