Environmental Humanities Extinction

Multispecies Care in the Sixth Extinction

A new collection of short essays in “Theorizing the Contemporary” on the Cultural Anthropology website, edited by Ursula Münster, Thom van Dooren, Sara Asu Schroer, and Hugo Reinert.

My essay focuses on the work of conservation and mourning in the “snail ark” (captive breeding laboratory) of the Hawai’i Snail Extinction Prevention Program.

The essays are all freely available online here.

“The rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reminds us, once more, of the porous boundaries between species, and the social and ecological disasters of growth-driven capitalism. Human dependence on diverse ways of life for collaborative survival is more obvious than ever in this time that some are calling the Sixth Extinction. In response to recent critical investigations of practices and labors of care, this collection of essays explores how attention to multispecies care contributes to recognizing the limits, dangers, and compromises of “care” practices in vulnerable ecological contexts. Taking the Sixth Extinction and its crises—of health, climate, agriculture, economy, democracy, and more—as a point of departure, the essays in this series gather diverse ethnographic stories of multispecies care to ask, How does care take form as, in, and through multispecies relations? What are the limitations and hazards of caring for nonhumans in contexts of loss and degradation? What is the potential of caring beyond the human for opening up (or disclosing) knowledge about other world-making practices and the possible ecological futures they may enable? Listening to these stories seems pertinent amid the chorus of other, often louder, voices that prophesize apocalypse and the doom of the world as we know it—or, conversely, that pronounce their unshakeable faith in solutions, in the “techno-fix” that will repair all damage through novel and ever advancing innovation.”

Table of contents

  • “Introduction: Multispecies Care in the Sixth Extinction”
    Sara Asu Schroer, Thom van Dooren, Ursula Münster, and Hugo Reinert
  • “They Grow and Die Lonely and Sad”
    Sophie Chao
  • “(E)valuations of More-Than-Human”
    Liana Chua
  • “Counting and Discounting Life in an Age of Extinction”
    Danielle Celermajer and Arian D. Wallach
  • “Caring for Dying Canals”
    Camelia Dewan
  • “Bonsai Care in an Industrial Zone”
    Hsin-yi Lu
  • “His Name Was Lucio”
    Marisol de la Cadena and Santiago Martínez-Medina
  • “The Ontological Ethopolitics of Conservation”
    Matthew Chrulew
  • “Pharmaceutical Care: Diclofenac, a Pharmacon of More-Than-Human Health”
    Daniel Münster and Ursula Münster
  • “Marginal Domestications: Crop Wild Relatives and Caring for Genealogies”
    Anna-Katharina Laboissière
  • “Ecologizing Honeybee Care: Multi-Species-Bodies and Trust in the Varroa Pandemic”
    Felix Remter
  • “Caring for Falcons in a Time of Extinction”
    Sara Asu Schroer
  • “Coexisting with Mosquitoes “
    Rosie Sims
  • “Mourning as Care in the Snail Ark”
    Thom van Dooren