Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction


Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.5 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

Thom van Dooren is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia, 2014) and the coeditor (with Deborah Bird Rose and Matthew Chrulew) of Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations (Columbia, 2017).


An excellent book that deserves wide readership.--Marc Bekoff, editor of Ignoring Nature No More: The Case For Compassionate Conservation
I love this book. Thom van Dooren's thorough, detailed, and calmly passionate scholarship adds immensely to my understanding of caring, science, and justice, and conditions for recuperation that take multispecies flourishing seriously. He is a leader in learning to learn without the tools of human exceptionalism, attuned to the nuances and specificities of situated worlds, including human worlds-in-relation with other critters.--Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet
In this wise and fascinating book, van Dooren takes us into the fleshy, biosocial, and ethical consequences of extinction. His lively stories of five bird species open worlds--both avian and human--of care, dedication, and the most ardent commitment. By developing a deeper understanding of species as intergenerational and interspecies achievements, van Dooren helps us rethink both loss and conservation. Flight Ways is a profoundly realized exploration of why extinction matters, and how we may respond.--Deborah Bird Rose, author of Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction
Haunting, beautiful, and important: Flight Ways is extraordinary. This is ethnographic storytelling at its very best, and it carries the environmental humanities to new heights. You will never look at a bird in the same way again.--Anna Tsing, University of California, Santa Cruz
Flight Ways recovers a way of responding ethically to extinction. van Dooren's scientifically-informed case studies of particular bird species facing extinction give the lie to the trope of "the last one" by framing stories of the "distinct unraveling of ways of life" that had evolved over millions of years and whose passings are unevenly experienced as tragedies. Informative, heartbreaking, and deeply inspiring, his book serves as a compelling model for how animal studies scholarship can move beyond false competitions of individuals and populations to engage with the real problems of sustaining life in multispecies communities.--Susan McHugh, author of Animal Stories: Narrating across Species Lines and Dog
A magnificent, sensitive, and marvelously intelligent book that tells stories of extinction while reinspiring us with life and curiosity. Every page teaches us something about other forms and ways of life, makes us think differently or more deeply than we have been in the habit of thinking, and helps us to do so in company with the beings of other species. Van Dooren teaches us that to care passionately can be a weapon of resistance against the forces of destruction.--Vinciane Despret, University of Liège
Thom van Dooren's book... blends philosophy with the natural sciences in his discussion of the cultural and ethical significance of modern-day extinctions. Birds are the focus of this lovely book and readers are treated to beautiful prose about what it means to the birds themselves and to us to lose these amazing beings.--Psychology Today
Masterful... [a] thought-provoking book and essential reading for those who seek to avert the sixth mass extinction. It makes the case, eloquently and convincingly, for greater attention to scientifically-informed narratives...--Biological Conservation
A novel, thought-provoking, and deeply moving analysis of species extinction from the perspective of five different bird species--The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory
A very valuable book that makes an important (and affective) intervention in existing conceptual debates.--Somatosphere