CfP: Living with Extinction

I thought this CfP looked brilliant, even if so far away from what I do these days that I can’t see a feasible contribution I could make myself:


 Call for Contributions to a Special Issue of New Formations

Please Circulate Widely

New Formations: a journal of culture / theory / politics


Call for Contributions:

2021 was the year that several environmental ‘tipping points’ – polar meltdown, aquifer exhaustion, permafrost warming and methane release, destabilised ocean currents, deforestation, rising air and sea temperatures, rates and extents of wildfires, storms and flooding – were allegedly approached or even surpassed, rendering the prevention of global warming beyond 1.5 C impossible and 2.0 very unlikely. Given the feedback effects of these phenomena, such increases were predicted to lead to increasing – and irreversible — degradation.  Where the global scale of ecological collapse previously posed the difficulty of its representation, there is now increasing acceptance among governments and populations that climate catastrophe is ‘real’.

But this brings with it new challenges, including the obvious one of despair in the face of the seeming impossibility of reversing the inevitable – and now apparently imminent — annihilation of human life and that of most other species, or deferral of action to a subsequent generation imagined to be technically superpowered. 

  How can we respond to this? What contributions can cultural theory, cultural studies, critical theory, radical philosophy, political theory, media studies, and the wider critical humanities and social sciences, make to our understanding of this situation, and even to its possible remediation?  

For this special issue of the journal we invite contributions addressing this question from any perspective. 

 Possible topics may include, but ned not be limited to:

Ecological and anti-individualist paradigms in the twenty-first century

Democracy and ecology

Anti-colonialism and the climate emergency

Ecocriticism today

The climate and the commons

Ecological anti-capitalism in the Age of Platforms

New materialism, biosemiotics, panspychism

Knowledge and legitimacy in the age of post-consensual politics

Posthumanisms and ecofeminisms

After the Anthropocene  

Uneven extinction:  the significance of race, gender, class and geography

The hermeneutics of tipping points, domino effects, cascades

Doomsday clocks: from atomic to environmental

Natural and political ‘feedback’

Indifferent ontologies and ethical responsibilities 

Critical Climate Change and anti-humanism

Apocalyptic exaltation

Climate grief – mourning or melancholy?

Greta Thunberg and the accusation of the elders

Extinction Rebellion and the outlawing of protest

Green New Dealing and greenwashing

The consolation of virtual realities

Escape:  plutocrats in space

Downsizing: rescaling as remediation

Animal futures

Living and dying with disease:  pathogenic ecologies and antimicrobial resistance

Burn this issue:  the archive without readers

We invite proposals in the form of a title, 300 word abstract and biographical note. The deadline for submission of proposals is September 15th 2021. Proposals will be selected by the end of September 2021, and the deadline for the delivery of full articles (7,000-9,000 words) will be April 30th 2022. 

Proposals should be emailed to with the subject line ‘Extinction Proposal’ 

2 responses to “CfP: Living with Extinction”

  1. Fossil fuel industries and corporate-orientated governments know when a very large portion of the populace is too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and the devastation being left in COVID-19’s wake — all while on insufficient income — to criticize them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable. Without doubt, mass addiction to fossil fuel products helps keep the average consumer quiet about the planet’s greatest polluter, lest they feel like and/or be publicly deemed hypocritical. It must be convenient for the industry.

    Regardless of which political party, our (Canada’s) federal governments have consistently propped the already profitable fossil fuel industry. In 2019 alone, the present (neo)Liberal government gave the industry 12-fold the subsidization it allocated towards renewable green-energy innovation. This is on top of agreeing to triple the diluted bitumen pipeline-flow westward through B.C., which means increasing the oil freighter traffic seven-fold through pristine whale-bearing waters.

    The industry must have a solid foundation when even our mainstream print news-media formally support Canada’s industry. News conglomerate Postmedia is on record as being allied with not only the planet’s second most polluting forms of “energy” (i.e. fossil fuel), but also the most polluting/dirtiest of crude oils — bitumen. [Source: “Mair on Media’s ‘Unholiest of Alliances’ With Energy Industry”, Rafe Mair, Nov.14 2017,]
    Furthermore, in late May, Postmedia refused to run paid ads by Leadnow, a social and environmental justice organization, that expose RBC as the largest financer of fossil fuel extraction in Canada.

    Meanwhile, far too many consumers still recklessly behave as though throwing non-biodegradable garbage down a dark chute, or pollutants emitted out of exhaust and drainage pipes, or spewed from very tall smoke stacks and sky-high jet engines — or even the largest contamination events — can somehow be safely absorbed into the air, sea, and land (i.e. out of sight, out of mind). It’s like we’re inconsequentially dispensing that toxic waste into some black-hole singularity, where it’s safely compressed into nothing.

  2. “How can we respond to this? What contributions can cultural theory, cultural studies, critical theory, radical philosophy, political theory, media studies, and the wider critical humanities and social sciences, make to our understanding of this situation, and even to its possible remediation?” …

    Unlike a few social/labor revolutions of the past, notably the Bolshevik and French revolutions, it seems to me that virtual corporate rule and the superfluously wealthy essentially have the police and military ready to foremost protect big power and money interests, even over the food and shelter needs of the protesting masses. I can imagine that there are/were lessons learned from them — a figurative How to Hinder Progressive Revolutions 101, perhaps — with the clarity of hindsight by big power and money interests. They, the police/military/big-money, can claim they must bust heads to maintain law and order as a priority; thus the absurdly unjust inequities and inequalities can persist.

    Still, there must be a point at which the status quo — where already large corporate profits are maintained or increased while many people are denied even basic shelter/income — can/will end up hurting big business interests. I can imagine that a healthy, strong and large consumer base — and not just very wealthy consumers — are needed. Or could it be that, generally speaking, the unlimited profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible, including the willingness to simultaneously have an already squeezed consumer base continue so or even worsened? (It brings to mind the allegorical fox stung by the instinct-abiding scorpion while ferrying it across the river, leaving both to drown.)

    When it comes to capitalist society, I can see corporate CEOs figuratively or literally shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. Meanwhile, the shareholder also shrugs their shoulders while defensively stating that they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.

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