CFP: Critical Animal Studies in an Age of Mass Extinction

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 We live in a time of biodiversity loss that has only five precedents in the history of the earth—and, unlike the previous five mass extinction events, this time, an extraordinarily destructive minority of one species, our own, is the cause. Indeed, current rates of anthropogenic biodiversity loss are a clearer indication that we have entered a new geological epoch—what is being called the Anthropocene—than climate change, and climate change is but one of many anthropogenic causes of the current extinction event. Although such catastrophic eliminations in the web of life will inevitably have dire repercussions for humans, mass extinction continues to be a relatively rare subject of media, political, and ethical discussion in comparison to climate change. How should Critical Animal Studies scholars respond to the fact that species are disappearing at nearly unprecedented rates? What can Critical Animal Studies perspectives offer in terms of political and ethical responses to the Sixth Extinction? Does thinking about animal death at the scale of mass biodiversity loss challenge, or lend urgency to, certain approaches to Critical Animal Studies? Are species extinctions any more tragic than the deaths of animals who belong to abundant species, such as the industrially farmed animals and laboratory animals on whom CAS scholars frequently focus? 

The North American Association for Critical Animal Studies will host its first, biennial meeting at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, in Kelowna, British Columbia (Canada), May 27-29, 2020. 

Confirmed keynote speakers include: 

Maneesha Deckha (Professor and Landsdowne Chair in Law, University of Victoria): Legal Solutions to Combat Anthropogenic Species Extinction 

Lori Gruen (William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, Wesleyan University): What is Imaginable Without Hope? 

Claire Jean Kim (Professor of Political Science, University of California Irvine): A Critique of the Critique of Speciesism 

We welcome Critical Animal Studies reflections on, but not limited to, the following topics: 

o Capitalism and mass extinction 

o Colonialism and mass extinction 

o Indigenous perspectives on conservation and extinction 

o Feminist and queer perspectives on mass extinction 

o Crip theory and critical disability studies perspectives on mass extinction 

o Food production, land use, new food technologies, and mass extinction 

o De-extinction, resurrection biology, or species revivalism 

o Animals as conservation subjects 

o Ecological and animal grief 

o Death justice and responsibility in the Anthropocene 

o Afro-pessimism and extinction/the ‘end of the world’ 

Please submit an abstract (maximum 150 words) and a short bio (maximum 100 words) to by December 2nd, 2019. Questions can be directed to the NAACAS email, Kelly Struthers Montford: and/or Jodey Castricano: 

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