In Loss & Wonder at the World's End, Laura A. Ogden brings together animals, people, and things – from beavers, stolen photographs, lichen, American explorers, and birdsong – to catalog the ways environmental change and colonial history are entangled in the Fuegian Archipelago of southernmost Chile and Argentina. Repeated algal blooms have closed fisheries in the archipelago. Glaciers are in retreat. Extractive industries such as commercial forestry, natural gas production, and salmon farming along with the introduction of nonnative species are rapidly transforming assemblages of life. Ogden archives forms of loss – including territory, language, sovereignty, and life itself – as well as forms of wonder, or moments when life continues to flourish even in the ruins of these devastations. Her account draws on long-term ethnographic research with settler and Indigenous communities; archival photographs; explorer journals; and experiments in natural history and performance studies. Loss & Wonder at the World's End frames environmental change as imperialism's shadow, a darkness cast over the earth in the wake of other losses.
The World's End: A Figure 1
Introduction. Loss and Wonder 4
The Explorer's Refrain: A Figure 15
1. The Earth as Archive 21
Arturo Escobar: A Figure 44
The Archival Earth: A Figure 47
2. Alternative Archives of the Present 51
Lichens on the Beach: A Figure 57
3. An Empire of Skin 62
The Anthropologist: A Figure 86
4. Stolen Images 91
Lewis Henry Morgan: A Figure 107
5. Dreamworlds of Beavers 111
Traces of Derrida: A Figure 127
Anne Chapman: A Figure 130
Conclusion. Birdsong 133
Gratitude: A Figuration 141
Laura A. Ogden is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth College, author of Swamplife: People, Gators, and Mangroves Entangled in the Everglades, coauthor of Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers, and coeditor of The Coastal Everglades: The Dynamics of Social-Ecological Transformation in the South Florida Landscape.
"One of the most brilliant and compelling aspects of this beautiful little book is Laura A. Ogden's voice. A woman's seasoned, feminist, highly attuned and tuned, expertly lived voice, it leads us graciously into a critical world of wonder and loss – a collective looking around at what could have been and might still be. Loss & Wonder at the World's End is sharply, fiercely loving. It teaches us to live and think differently. This is a masterful, inspiring, wholly original work."
– Kathleen Stewart, coauthor of The Hundreds
"In its freshness of vision, its first-person mode of presentation, its openheartedness, and its scattering of materials in delicate montages, Loss & Wonder at the World's End is such fun to read. Laura A. Ogden's persistent view of history throughout the text as multivalent, dense, and mysterious is wonderful."
– Michael T. Taussig, author of Mastery of Non-mastery in the Age of Meltdown