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- External co-investigators: Rosamund Portus,
Collaborative project between three doctoral researchers and six academics. The Network joins scholars from the White Rose Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. The Extinction Network is an interdisciplinary and is funded by the White Rose Network.
Imagining and representing species extinction – both currently witnessed and projected into the future, including human extinction – has become a powerful social and cultural discourse, the study of which is the domain of no single discipline. This network brings together researchers in environmental conservation, English literature, interactive media, management, philosophy and religious studies in order to contribute critically to the cross-disciplinary study of extinction in all its different biological forms and socio-cultural functions today.
Whilst historically extinction has evoked the disappearance of iconic species of animals and plants, it is just as likely to be discussed today in the context of macro-scale considerations of global ecological crisis and the interdependence of human and nonhuman life in an era of anthropogenic climate change. From reporting on climate tipping points (which include rapid biodiversity loss), suggestions that we are living in the ‘Anthropocene epoch’ and an associated ‘sixth mass extinction event’, to a recurrent ‘eco-apocalypse’ and ‘animal apocalypse’ theme in cinematic and literary narratives, the studies of human and non-human life have become radically intertwined.
Greater input is urgently needed from arts and humanities to work alongside, as well as to critically engage with, the scientific discoveries and ethical imperatives of contemporary wildlife conservation studies. Alongside a concern with how and why we value and protect biodiversity, individual species and ecosystems, our network will pose questions that have been hampered by disciplinary boundaries.