Ursula K. Heise Thinks Beyond Melancholy: A Review of “Imagining Extinction”

Painting by Theron Caldwell Ris captures the multispecies lifeways Heise envisions.

15 Responses

  1. Gwen Drury says:

    Hi CHE folks!

    If you want to hear an exciting and upbeat NON-extinction tale about the resurgence of Wisconsin’s dinosaur fish, the lake sturgeon…and realize what everyday Wisconsinites did to successfully restore this fish’s population when everyone thought it was doomed, please join us on:

    Tuesday, October 31 at 7:00 pm
    in Genetics Biotech, auditorium #1111.
    (The same place where Wednesday Nite@ The Lab is taped)

    Bill Casper, who founded the group “Sturgeon for Tomorrow” and others who helped in this amazing success story will be speaking in person. Bill is 86 now, so this may be your last chance to see him/thank him in person! Bill didn’t proceed from a melancholy narrative – probably because he doesn’t have a melancholy bone in his body! He is living proof that a different narrative can make a real difference.

    This talk is part of this fall’s course (and public lecture series) “Forward? The Wisconsin Idea, Past and Present.”

    The course website is http://www.wiscidea.com

    It includes last year’s lectures on video, and all of this year’s so far. A couple of CHE members have given talks so far this year – check them out!

    Finally, I ask that you check out my talk, from September 12. I can just about guarantee that you will learn something new about the history/founding of the Wisconsin Idea. Let me know if you don’t!

    Thanks, Gwen Drury

  2. Philip Kienholz says:

    I enjoyed your review, and reading the book as well. I’ve wondered before if, as authoress Heise suggests, a database could be considered literature. I have never found a way yet to make it so, in my own opinion. But her thinking adds some credence to my predilection, when initially exploring a new book or technical article to at least scan and mark up their bibliography first.She does offer, as you review, a widely spread approach to various literary forms in her consideration of our approaches to species extinction. Maybe it’s because of the intensely bleak mental place that reading the scientific and popular scientific literature leads one to — facing the bare loneliness of reduced biodiversity and the barren landscapes of our industries and our clogged urban freneticism, and facing as well the peril to our own species — maybe its this that causes her to suggest favouring the unrestrained myth and imagination of speculative fiction as vehicles to convey our new stories. The need for those new stories and effective forms for them grows more and more urgent.

Leave a Reply