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Vanishing Sounds: Thoreau and the Sixth Extinction

Monday, May 9, 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow
Response to well-head blowout in Lake Perot, La. on January 21, 2007 (NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration. Public domain).
Response to well-head blowout in Lake Perot, La. on January 21, 2007 (NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration. Public domain).

Vanishing Sounds: Thoreau and the Sixth Extinction

Wai Chee Dimock

There have been five great extinctions in the long history of life on earth, the most recent occurring 65 million years ago; each was unimaginably catastrophic. Past mass extinctions were caused by natural disasters, but now, humans are emitting greenhouse gases that drive climate change and ocean acidification. For animals confined to small and shrinking habitats, such as the Yangtze River dolphin or the African black rhinoceros, the 21st century may mark the end. During this year’s annual Torrence C. Harder Endowed Lecture, Wai Chee Dimock will discuss the sixth extinction as reported by Thoreau, tempered by some signs of hope.

Wai Chee Dimock is the William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University. She is best known for Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (2007). She is a film critic for the Los Angeles Review of Books; her essays have also appeared in Critical Inquiry, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New Yorker, and the New York Times.

This lecture is supported, in part, by the Torrence C. Harder Endowed Lecture Fund

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