The sixth mass extinction or Anthropocene extinction is one of the most pervasive issues of our time. Animals, Plants and Afterimages brings together leading scholars in the humanities and life sciences to explore how extinct species are represented in art and visual culture, with a special emphasis on museums. Engaging with celebrated cases of vanished species such as the quagga and the thylacine as well as less well-known examples of animals and plants, these essays explore how representations of recent and ancient extinctions help advance scientific understanding and speak to contemporary ecological and environmental concerns.
List of illustrations, Figures and Tables
Introduction: Representing Extinction: Art, Science and Afterimages / Valérie Bienvenue and Nicholas Chare
Part I: Dialogues about Extinction
Chapter 1. The Dinosaur as Cultural Symbol and Totem: W.J.T. Mitchell in Conversation / W.J.T. Mitchell
Chapter 2. Visualizing Extinction: Harriet Ritvo in Conversation / Harriet Ritvo
Chapter 3. ‘Putting Nature Back Together Again’: Stuart Pimm in Conversation / Stuart Pimm
Part II: Indigenous Peoples and Extinction
Chapter 4. The Beothuk, the Great Auk and the Newfoundland Wolf: Animal and Human Genocide in Canada’s Easternmost Province / Nicholas Chare
Chapter 5. Cultural Memory of Recent Extinctions: A Chinese Perspective / Samuel T. Turvey
Chapter 6. Grief, Extinction, and Bilhaa (Abalone) / hagwil hayetsk (Charles R. Menzies)
Part III: Representing Avian and Insect Extinctions
Chapter 7. Sparrows with teeth and claws? Reconstructing the Cretaceous Enantiornithes (Aves: Ornithothoraces) / Jingmai O’Connor
Chapter 8. Rare Birds and Rare Books The Species as Work of Art / Gordon M. Sayre
Chapter 9. The Virtual Realities of Species Revivalism: Restoring the Kaua‘i ‘Ō‘ō Bird in Jakob Kudsk Steensen's Re-Animated / Sarah Bezan
Chapter 10. Insects, Spiders, Snails and Empathy: Representing Invertebrate Extinctions in Natural History Museums / Pedro Cardoso
Part IV: Representing Extinct Plants and Fungi
Chapter 11. Reconstructing Lycopsids Lost to the Deep Past / Jeffrey P. Benca
Chapter 12. Ellis Rowan, Extinction and the Politics of Flower Painting / Jeanette Hoorn
Chapter 13. Towards Extinction: Mapping the Vulnerable, Threatened and Critically Endangered Plant in ‘Moments of Friction’ / Dawn Sanders
Chapter 14. Sweetness, Power, Yeasts, and Entomo-terroir / Robert R. Dunn, Monica C. Sanchez and Matthew Morse Booker
Part V: Representing Extinct Mammals
Chapter 15. Animal Extinction, Film and the Death Drive / Barbara Creed
Chapter 16. Tasmanian Tiger: Precious Little Remains / David Maynard
Chapter 17. From the General to the Particular: Piecing together the Life and Afterlife of A544, Louis XVI’s Quagga / Valérie Bienvenue
Part VI: Exhibiting Extinction
Chapter 18. Three Variations on the Theme of Extinction: Looking Anew at the Art and Science of Mark Dion / Anne-Sophie Miclo
Chapter 19. The Exhibition of Extinct Species: A Critique / Norman MacLeod
Chapter 20. Exhibiting Extinction: Thylacines in Museum Display / Kathryn Medlock
Afterword: After Extinction / Valérie Bienvenue and Nicholas Chare
Valérie Bienvenue is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. Her thesis critically examines human-equine relations through the prism of modern art and visual culture. Prior to her academic career, she worked for ten years in equestrian circles, including teaching bareback riding and rehabilitating horses suffering from physical and psychological trauma. She is the author of several articles and book chapters.
Nicholas Chare is a Professor of Art History in the Department of History of Art and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is the author of After Francis Bacon (2012). In 2017, with Sébastien Lévesque and Silvestra Mariniello, he founded the baccalaureate (BACCAP) in visual cultures at the Université de Montréal.
"Animals, Plants and Afterimages draws together an impressive range of essays that describe, contemplate, explore, and challenge the relationships between extinction and representation, engaging with a series of perceptual, conceptual, material, and illusory afterimages of animals and plants with whom we can no longer co-exist but who still matter to us."
–Rick De Vos, Curtin University
"The editors' approach to extinctions through museum exhibitions, technologies and works of art is highly illuminating. Next time, when I visit a natural history museum, I will see the exhibition and the dead animals and plants in a different light."
– Markku Oksanen, University of Eastern Finland