Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (Hardback)
  • Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (Hardback)
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Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (Hardback)

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£62.00
Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 09/09/2016
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We are currently facing the sixth mass extinction of species in the history of life on Earth, biologists claim the first one caused by humans. Activists, filmmakers, writers, and artists are seeking to bring the crisis to the public's attention through stories and images that use the strategies of elegy, tragedy, epic, and even comedy. Imagining Extinction is the first book to examine the cultural frameworks shaping these narratives and images. Ursula K. Heise argues that understanding these stories and symbols is indispensable for any effective advocacy on behalf of endangered species. More than that, she shows how biodiversity conservation, even and especially in its scientific and legal dimensions, is shaped by cultural assumptions about what is valuable in nature and what is not. These assumptions are hardwired into even seemingly neutral tools such as biodiversity databases and laws for the protection of endangered species. Heise shows that the conflicts and convergences of biodiversity conservation with animal welfare advocacy, environmental justice, and discussions about the Anthropocene open up a new vision of multispecies justice. Ultimately, Imagining Extinction demonstrates that biodiversity, endangered species, and extinction are not only scientific questions but issues of histories, cultures, and values.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226358024
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Heise is the leading ecocritic of her generation. Any serious-minded person with a concern for the longstanding but accelerating plight of endangered nonhuman species and how to make sense of its history and possible futures as an urgent cultural predicament is certain to profit from reading Imagining Extinction. --Lawrence Buell, Harvard University"
Imagining Extinction shows Heise working at the height of her powers, traversing a formidable range of charged ecological-cultural issues that include mass species extinctions and rapid loss of biodiversity; global climate change; narrative templates that structure how cultures care about, and tell stories about, other species; the rise of biodiversity databases; biodiversity laws; and animal rights. This book is elegantly written, cogently organized, and comprehensively researched. --Nicole Shukin, University of Victoria"
"A nuanced re-visioning of extinction discourse, inflected powerfully by literary traditions ranging from elegy to epic. . . . Bound by temporal division, suggests Heise, only the human imagination can seemingly inspire the kind of social and political action championed by environmentalists and scientists alike. . . . Imagining Extinction persuasively advocates for the centrality of the literary, the anthropological, the historical, and the psychological in coding and recoding our present considerations of extinction and the Anthropocene. Repeatedly, Heise draws our attention to 'the stories we tell about ourselves.' Perhaps this, after all, is the humanities' calling. Writing and rewriting stories about who we are, where we are, why we are. And yet, in the same way that I do not want the humanities reduced to a single function, I would also not want to reduce Heise's Imagining Extinction to a single application. Self-consciously, the text seems crafted in order to lend itself to alliances far beyond a single discourse or discipline. Extinction, after all, is by its present definition uncontained and uncontainable."
--Clint Wilson III "Cultures of Energy "
"Heise is the leading ecocritic of her generation. Any serious-minded person with a concern for the longstanding but accelerating plight of endangered nonhuman species--and how to make sense of its history and possible futures as an urgent cultural predicament--is certain to profit from reading Imagining Extinction."--Lawrence Buell, Harvard University
"Imagining Extinction shows Heise working at the height of her powers, traversing a formidable range of charged ecological-cultural issues that include mass species extinctions and rapid loss of biodiversity; global climate change; narrative 'templates' that structure how cultures care about, and tell stories about, other species; the rise of biodiversity databases; biodiversity laws; and animal rights. This book is elegantly written, cogently organized, and comprehensively researched."--Nicole Shukin, University of Victoria
-A nuanced re-visioning of extinction discourse, inflected powerfully by literary traditions ranging from elegy to epic. . . . Bound by temporal division, suggests Heise, only the human imagination can seemingly inspire the kind of social and political action championed by environmentalists and scientists alike. . . . Imagining Extinction persuasively advocates for the centrality of the literary, the anthropological, the historical, and the psychological in coding and recoding our present considerations of extinction and the Anthropocene. Repeatedly, Heise draws our attention to 'the stories we tell about ourselves.' Perhaps this, after all, is the humanities' calling. Writing and rewriting stories about who we are, where we are, why we are. And yet, in the same way that I do not want the humanities reduced to a single function, I would also not want to reduce Heise's Imagining Extinction to a single application. Self-consciously, the text seems crafted in order to lend itself to alliances far beyond a single discourse or discipline. Extinction, after all, is by its present definition uncontained and uncontainable.-
--Clint Wilson III -Cultures of Energy -
-Heise is the leading ecocritic of her generation. Any serious-minded person with a concern for the longstanding but accelerating plight of endangered nonhuman species--and how to make sense of its history and possible futures as an urgent cultural predicament--is certain to profit from reading Imagining Extinction.---Lawrence Buell, Harvard University
-Imagining Extinction shows Heise working at the height of her powers, traversing a formidable range of charged ecological-cultural issues that include mass species extinctions and rapid loss of biodiversity; global climate change; narrative 'templates' that structure how cultures care about, and tell stories about, other species; the rise of biodiversity databases; biodiversity laws; and animal rights. This book is elegantly written, cogently organized, and comprehensively researched.---Nicole Shukin, University of Victoria

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