What do we talk about when we talk about extinction? As a concept, a process, and a specific event, as something troublingly natural and social, as both an observable but mostly unrecorded phenomenon, “extinction” carries competing and contradictory meanings. Yet in the current conjuncture, extinction operates as an emergent keyword of public life. Charged with new immediacy by the cascading effects of climate collapse, mobilised by the collective power of street movements such as Extinction Rebellion and Ende Gelände, and theorised by the nonhuman turns of the environmental humanities, Anthropocene, and multispecies studies, extinction can no longer be contained within the cabinets of natural history museums – if indeed it ever could.
Abstracts are now being solicited for a two-day symposium on the subject of Extinction in Public, to be held at Manchester Museum, October 15-16 2020. The CFP deadline is 10th March, and full details of the event can be read here.