Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction

Paperback | November 8, 2016

byThom Van Dooren

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A leading figure in the emerging field of extinction studies, Thom van Dooren puts philosophy into conversation with the natural sciences and his ethnographic encounters to vivify the cultural and ethical significance of modern-day extinctions. Unlike other meditations on the subject, Flight Ways incorporates the particularities of real animals and their worlds, drawing philosophers, natural scientists, and general readers into the experience of living among and losing biodiversity.

Each chapter of Flight Ways focuses on a different species or group of birds: North Pacific albatrosses, Indian vultures, an endangered colony of penguins in Australia, Hawaiian crows, and the iconic whooping cranes of North America. Written in eloquent and moving prose, the book takes stock of what is lost when a life form disappears from the world-the wide-ranging ramifications that ripple out to implicate a number of human and more-than-human others. Van Dooren intimately explores what life is like for those who must live on the edge of extinction, balanced between life and oblivion, taking care of their young and grieving their dead. He bolsters his studies with real-life accounts from scientists and local communities at the forefront of these developments. No longer abstract entities with Latin names, these species become fully realized characters enmeshed in complex and precarious ways of life, sparking our sense of curiosity, concern, and accountability toward others in a rapidly changing world.

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From the Publisher

A leading figure in the emerging field of extinction studies, Thom van Dooren puts philosophy into conversation with the natural sciences and his ethnographic encounters to vivify the cultural and ethical significance of modern-day extinctions. Unlike other meditations on the subject, Flight Ways incorporates the particularities of re...

Thom van Dooren is an environmental philosopher and anthropologist at the University of New South Wales, Australia. His research is situated in the interdisciplinary field of the environmental humanities.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:November 8, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231166192

ISBN - 13:9780231166195

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Telling Lively Stories at the Edge of Extinction1. Fledging Albatrosses: Flight Ways and Wasted Generations2. Circling Vultures: Life and Death at the Dull Edge of Extinction3. Urban Penguins: Stories for Lost Places4. Breeding Cranes: The Violent-Care of Captive Life5. Mourning Crows: Grief in a Shared WorldEpilogue: A Call for StoriesNotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

A very valuable book that makes an important (and affective) intervention in existing conceptual debates.