Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture  book cover
1st Edition

Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture

ISBN 9781138847415
Published July 3, 2015 by Routledge
276 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The notion of Endangerment stands at the heart of a network of concepts, values and practices dealing with objects and beings considered threatened by extinction, and with the procedures aimed at preserving them. Usually animated by a sense of urgency and citizenship, identifying endangered entities involves evaluating an impending threat and opens the way for preservation strategies.

Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture looks at some of the fundamental ways in which this process involves science, but also more than science: not only data and knowledge and institutions, but also affects and values. Focusing on an "endangerment sensibility," it encapsulates tensions between the normative and the utilitarian, the natural and the cultural. The chapters situate that specifically modern sensibility in historical perspective, and examine central aspects of its recent and present forms.

This timely volume offers the most cutting-edge insights into the Environmental Humanities for researchers working in Environmental Studies, History, Anthropology, Sociology and Science and Technology Studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Endangerment Sensibility  Part 1: Affects and Values  1. "Languages Die Like Rivers:" Entangled Endangerments in the Colorado Delta  2. Extinction, Diversity, and Endangerment  3. Anthropological Data in Danger, c. 1941-1965Rebecca Lemov  Part 2: Situated Politics  4. Conserving the Future: UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as Laboratories for Sustainable Development  5. Indigenous Evanescence and Salvage in the Conquest of Araucanía, 1850-1930  6. Tropical Forests in Brazilian Political Culture: From Economic Hindrance to Ecological Treasure  Part 3 Technologies of Preservation  7. Endangered Birds and Epistemic Concerns: The California Condor  8. World Heritage Listing and the Globalization of the Endangerment Sensibility  9. Planning for the Past: Cryopreservation at the Farm, Zoo, and Museum  Coda Who is the "We" Endangered by Climate Change?

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Fernando Vidal is ICREA Research Professor (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) at the Center for the History of Science of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Nélia Dias is Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal.


"There are thousands of endangered species and hundreds of human cultures facing extinction along with the languages they have spoken. This fascinating book takes the reader along to delve into the reasons we are losing diversity and the many kinds of knowledge it could give us. How has politics made endangerment worse, or tried to prevent it? The wise authors of these chapters find examples from around the world and look at ways to preserve and revive what we might otherwise lose. This book raises interesting questions and is a dependable key to understanding."J. Donald Hughes, University of Denver, USA

"In this era of rapidly accelerating climate change, species extinction, and cultural vulnerability, endangerment has come to shape the science, politics, and emotions mobilized to archive and defend the fatally condemned. Endangerment, Biodiversity, and Culture is a timely volume that makes visible the undercurrent of loss animating work across the human and life sciences."Gregg Mitman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

"Fernando Vidal and Nélia Dias discuss, from the perspective of social anthropology and sciences studies, the notion of intrinsic value, which is highly debated in environmental humanities. They show that values emerge out of contested encounters between different relations to the environment, expressed through emotions and engagements."Somatosphere, Frédéric Keck, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale and head of the research department of the musée du quai Branly