Autumn Keynote 22 Nov: Dolly Jørgensen – Searching for the Last and the Emotions of Extinction

Professor Dolly Jørgensen – University of Stavanger, Norway

Searching for the Last and the Emotions of Extinction

22 November, 4.30-6pm, Clothworkers North Building LT (G.12)

We have organised a drinks reception in The Faversham afterwards so that we can continue the discussion in a more informal setting.

Abstract: To recognise that an animal is the last of its kind means that it is still alive, but when it dies, there will be no more. When standing at the precipice of extinction, contradictory emotions can come to the fore: hope and despair. There can be hope that more animals will be found; despair that none will be. In this lecture, I will use the historical cases of the local extinction of the beaver in Sweden and the global extinction of the thylacine in Tasmania to discuss how these two emotions intersected and spurred people on their searches for the last. I advocate integrating the history of emotions into our environmental history narratives in order to understand motivations for animal conservation.

Speaker bio: Dolly Jørgensen is Professor of History at University of Stavanger, Norway specializing in histories of environment and technology. Her scholarship is unconstrained by typical periodization boundaries: she is just as comfortable writing about 11th century forest management or 15th century urban sanitation as she is writing about 20th century offshore oil operations or contemporary efforts to resurrect extinct animal species. Her current research agenda focuses on cultural histories of animal extinction and recovery. Her book on that topic, Longing and Belonging: Recovering Lost Species in the Modern Age, will be coming out with MIT Press in 2019. She has previously co-edited two volumes at the envirotech intersection—New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies (2013) and Northscapes: History, Technology & the Making of Northern Environments (2013)—and one volume in premodern studies, Visions of North in Premodern Europe (2018).

Jørgensen 'Searching for the Last'.001

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