As global rates of plant and animal extinctions mount, anxieties about the future of the earth's ecosystems are fueling ever more ambitious efforts at conservation, which draw on Western scientific principles to manage species and biodiversity. In Revenant Ecologies, Audra Mitchell argues that these responses not only ignore but also magnify powerful forms of structural violence like colonialism, racism, genocide, extractivism, ableism, and heteronormativity, ultimately contributing to the destruction of unique life forms and ecosystems.
Critiquing the Western discourse of global extinction and biodiversity through the lens of diverse Indigenous philosophies and other marginalized knowledge systems, Revenant Ecologies promotes new ways of articulating the ethical enormity of global extinction. Mitchell offers an ambitious framework – (bio)plurality –that focuses on nurturing unique, irreplaceable worlds, relations, and ecosystems, aiming to transform global ecological-political relations, including through processes of land return and critically confronting discourses on "human extinction".
Highlighting the deep violence that underpins ideas of "extinction", "conservation", and "biodiversity", Revenant Ecologies fuses political ecology, global ethics, and violence studies to offer concrete, practical alternatives. It also foregrounds the ways that multi-life-form worlds are actively defying the forms of violence that drive extinction – and that shape global efforts to manage it.
Audra Mitchell is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Political Ecology at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University. Mitchell is the author of International Intervention in a Secular Age: Re-enchanting Humanity? and Lost in Transformation: Violent Peace and Peaceful Conflict in Northern Ireland and is coeditor of Hybrid Forms of Peace: From the Everyday to Post-liberalism.