Contesting Extinctions

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Decolonial and Regenerative Futures

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Edited by Suzanne M. McCullagh, Luis I. Prádanos, Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan and Catherine Wagner.

Contesting Extinctions: Decolonial and Regenerative Futures critically interrogates the discursive framing of extinctions and how they relate to the systems that bring about biocultural loss. The chapters in this multidisciplinary volume examine approaches to ecological and social extinction and resurgence from a variety of fields, including environmental studies, literary studies, political science, and philosophy. Grounding their scholarship in decolonial, Indigenous, and counter-hegemonic frameworks, the contributors advocate for shifting the discursive focus from ruin to regeneration.

Contributions by Alex Benson; Leonardo E. Figueroa Helland; Ryan Heryford; Wesley Y. Leonard; Felix Mantz; Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan; Suzanne M. McCullagh; Marjolein Oele; Lisa Ottum; Abigail Perez Aguilera; Luis I. Prádanos and Catherine Wagner.

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Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
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Carbon Footprints as Cultural-Ecological Metaphors

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by Anita Girvan

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Through an examination of carbon footprint metaphors, this books demonstrates the ways in which climate change and other ecological issues are culturally and materially constituted through metaphor.

The carbon footprint metaphor has achieved a ubiquitous presence in Anglo-North American public contexts since the turn of the millennium, yet this metaphor remains under-examined as a crucial mediator of political responses to the urgent crisis of climate change. Existing books and articles on the carbon footprint typically treat this metaphor as a quantifying metric, with little attention to the shifting mediations and practices of the carbon footprint as a metaphor. This gap echoes a wider gap in understanding metaphors as key figures in mediating more-than-human relations at a time when such relations profoundly matter. As a timely intervention, this book addresses this gap by using insights from environmental humanities and political ecology to discuss carbon footprint metaphors in popular and public texts.

This book will be of great interest to researchers and students of environmental humanities, political ecology, environmental communication, and metaphor studies.

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Publisher: Routledge
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About the Author

Anita Girvan is an Assistant Professor, Cultural Studies in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies.


Nature’s Broken Clocks

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Reimagining Time in the Face of the Environmental Crisis

by Paul Huebener

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The environmental crisis is, in many ways, a crisis of time. From the distress cries of birds that no longer know when to migrate, to the rapid dying of coral reefs, to the quickening pace of extreme weather events, the patterns and timekeeping of the natural world are falling apart. We have broken nature’s clocks.

Lying hidden at the root of this problem are the cultural narratives that shape our actions and horizons of thought, but as Paul Huebener shows, we can bring about change by developing a critical literacy of time. Moving from circadian rhythms and the revival of ancient frozen bacteria to camping advertisements and the politics of oil pipelines, Nature’s Broken Clocks turns to works of fiction and poetry, examining how cultural narratives of time are connected to the problems of ecological collapse and what we might do to fix them.

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Publisher: University of Regina Press
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About the Author

Paul Huebener is an Associate Professor of English in the Centre for Humanities. View Paul's faculty web page.


Sounding Bodies Sounding Worlds

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An Exploration of Embodiments in Sound

by Mickey Vallee

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What makes a body of sound appear as an aesthetic object as well as a method for knowledge? In Sounding Bodies Sounding Worlds, Mickey Vallee argues that we must impose our sonic imagination onto the non-sonic, and embrace how we sound to ourselves, sound with our animal companions, and sound in very earth itself.  From the invention of the laryngoscope to the role of the spectrogram, from the call of the bird to the tumble of a rockslide, from the deep listening of environmental immersion to the computational listening of bioacoustics research, Vallee offers a wide range of cases to convincingly argue that all life shares in a continuous, embodied and ethical vibration.

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Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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About the Author

Mickey Vallee teaches in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University, where he holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Community, Identity and Digital Media. View Mickey's faculty page.


Public Deliberation on Climate Change

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Lessons from Alberta Climate Dialogue

Book Cover: Public Deliberation on Climate Change

There exists in both academic and political circles a growing interest in public deliberation as an alternative to the sometimes adversarial and polarizing public engagement activities that result in the pitting of experts against lay people. Proponents of public deliberation claim that a more deliberative process can engage a diversity of participants in a more guided process that better balances expert knowledge and citizen inclusion. Such an approach holds particular promise where citizens and governments engage in discussions of the most complex and intractable issues like climate change.

Given the host of challenges climate governance presents and the global consequences of our response to them, the experience and knowledge shared by Hanson and the contributors to Public Deliberation on Climate Change provide an important framework for advancing public conversations and processes on this and other wicked problems. The lessons contained in the volume were gained as a result of a five year multidisciplinary, community-university research project called Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD), which drew together scholars, practitioners, citizens, civil society members, and government officials from across Alberta at four public deliberations. By highlighting the value tensions and trade-offs and examining the impact that the design of the deliberations has on policy and the creation of conditions that encourage exchange, the contributors aim to build capacity within our institutions and society to find new ways to discuss and solve complex problems.

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Publisher: Athabasca University Press
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Trail of Story, Travellers’ Path

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Reflections on Ethnoecology and Landscape

by Leslie Main Johnson

three images: mountains with forest; forest; dry cracked mud

Trail of Story examines the meaning of landscape, drawn from Leslie Main Johnson’s rich experience with diverse environments and peoples, including the Gitksan and Witsuwit’en of northwestern British Columbia, the Kaska Dene of the southern Yukon, and the Gwich’in of the Mackenzie Delta.

With passion and conviction, Johnson maintains that our response to our environment shapes our culture, determines our lifestyle, defines our identity, and sets the tone for our relationships and economies. With photos, she documents the landscape and contrasts the ecological relationships with land of First Nations peoples to those of non-indigenous scientists. The result is an absorbing study of local knowledge of place and a broad exploration of the meaning of landscape.

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Publisher: UBC Press
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About the Author

Leslie Main Johnson is Associate Professor in the Centre for Social Sciences. View Leslie's faculty page.


Landscape Ethnoecology

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Concepts of Biotic and Physical Space

photo of a Boreal forest

Edited by Leslie Main Johnson and Eugene S. Hunn

Although anthropologists and cultural geographers have explored “place” in various senses, little cross-cultural examination of “kinds of place,” or ecotopes, has been presented from an ethno-ecological perspective. In this volume, indigenous and local understandings of landscape are investigated in order to better understand how human communities relate to their terrestrial and aquatic resources. The contributors go beyond the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) literature and offer valuable insights on ecology and on land and resources management, emphasizing the perception of landscape above the level of species and their folk classification. Focusing on the ways traditional people perceive and manage land and biotic resources within diverse regional and cultural settings, the contributors address theoretical issues and present case studies from North America, Mexico, Amazonia, tropical Asia, Africa and Europe.

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Publisher: Berghahn Books
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Winning Back the Words

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Confronting Experts in an Environmental Public Hearing

by Mike Gismondi

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By Mary Richardson, Joan Sherman, and Michael Gismondi

Winning Back the Words chronicles the politics of the environmental public hearings on the Alberta-Pacific bleached kraft pulp mill in northern Alberta, and illustrates how the public challenged the authority of experts. Drawing from their own experiences in the hearings, the authors recreate the power struggles among participants over the words and discourses used to debate the impact of the mill on the environment. Controversies about science and values, sustainable development, and local knowledge suggest promising new directions in environmental review.

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Publisher: University of Toronto Press
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About the Author

Mike Gismondi is Professor of Sociology and Global Studies in the Centre for Social Sciences. View Mike's faculty page.


Challenging Legitimacy at the Precipice of Energy Calamity

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by Mike Gismondi

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by Debra J. Davidson and Mike Gismondi

Two intersecting moments of the Twenty-first Century define our politics, economies, and future prospects for civilization: the mounting evidence for global climate change, now unequivocally attributed to socio-economic activities, and its de-stabilizing effects on our biosphere, combined with the end of easy oil and the easy wealth it generates. On the energy question, non-conventional fossil fuels have been promoted by political elites as the next most attractive development option. The development of nonconventional fuels, however, does nothing to alleviate either climate change or the falling rate of energy supply, and generates multiple social and environmental consequences. The largest endeavour marking this historic nexus—indeed the largest industrial project in history, is the extraction and processing of the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta, Canada. The social, environmental, and most importantly political outcomes of this grand experiment will reverberate throughout the global polity, and either encourage or caution against increasing our dependence on such non-conventional fuels and assuming the multiple costs such dependence will entail. Planning for reflexive societal change requires that we first ask how such giga-projects are legitimated, and who is challenging this legitimacy? In this book we trace how language and visual representations are used to reinforce or challenge the legitimacy of development of the Athabasca tar sands, and draw on our insights to contemplate likely energy and climate futures.

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Publisher: Springer
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About the Author

Mike Gismondi is Professor of Sociology and Global Studies in the Centre for Social Sciences. View Mike's faculty page.