312 pages, 72 illustrations
In an era of global warming, natural disasters, endangered species, and devastating pollution, contemporary writing on the environment largely focuses on doomsday scenarios. Eben Kirksey suggests we reject such apocalyptic thinking and instead find possibilities in the wreckage of ongoing disasters, as symbiotic associations of opportunistic plants, animals, and microbes are flourishing in unexpected places. Emergent Ecologies uses artwork and contemporary philosophy to illustrate hopeful opportunities and reframe key problems in conservation biology such as invasive species, extinction, environmental management, and reforestation. Following the flight of capital and nomadic forms of life through fragmented landscapes of Panama, Costa Rica, and the United States Kirksey explores how chance encounters, historical accidents, and parasitic invasions have shaped present and future multispecies communities. New generations of thinkers and tinkerers are learning how to care for emergent ecological assemblages involving frogs, fungal pathogens, ants, monkeys, people, and plants by seeding them, nurturing them, protecting them, and ultimately letting go.
"A work of great sophistication, Emergent Ecologies is a great read. It is movingly written, methodologically innovative, and provides an intellectually rich account of an important and timely subject that will inspire, entertain, and challenge."
– Sarah Franklin, author of Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship
"A praise song for the possibilities of bricolage, Emergent Ecologies is a postmodern natural history in which displaced ants, macaques, frogs, and flies tumble with philosophy, performance art, science, and adventure story. Eben Kirksey takes us on a wild ride through a funhouse of risky and ironic entanglements."
– Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, author of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins
2. Ontological Amphibians
3. Hope in the Reverted Zone
4. Happiness and Glass
7. Becoming Wild
8. Multispecies Families
9. Parasites of Capitalism
10. Possible Futures
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Eben Kirksey is a permanent faculty member in Environmental Humanities at UNSW Australia and a Visiting Research Scholar at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the editor of The Multispecies Salon and the author of Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power, both also published by Duke University Press.