Requiem: An Endangered Menagerie

Image by Martin Pelenek, Via Shutterstock. Image ID- 1615581634
Friday 22 January 2021
4.00 - 5.30pm

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Paddington Reservoir
251-255 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW



Sydney Festival

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This panel brings together philosophers, writers, and scientists to explore the intersection between extinction and bushfire in this country.

Requiem discussion panels curated by Danielle Celermajer and Michelle St Anne.

Alongside the incredible loss of plant and animal lives in the 2019-2020 bushfire season, a range of endangered species were pushed closer to the edge of extinction. As the impacts of climate change intensify into the future, it is likely that fire will play an ever more significant role in the ongoing loss of species in Australia. This panel brings together philosophers, writers, and scientists to explore the intersection between extinction and bushfire in this country. In a series of six short reflections (five minutes), each speaker will focus on a single plant or animal species, drawing out the particularities of this threatened life form and what is precious and significant about it. The panel will conclude with a round table discussion and Q&A with the audience.


Sophie Chao is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sydney School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and the Charles Perkins Centre. Her research explores the intersections of capitalism, ecology, and indigeneity in the Pacific. She is interested in the changing relationships between plants and people across indigenous, corporate, and scientific contexts. Her theoretical thinking is inspired by interdisciplinary posthumanist currents including multispecies ethnography and the environmental humanities, as well as plant science and Science and Technology Studies. Her new project investigates the nutritional and cultural impacts of agribusiness on indigenous food-based socialities, identities, and ecologies.

Thom van Dooren (Chair) is Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2017-2021) in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. His research and writing focus on some of the many philosophical, ethical, cultural, and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human entanglements with threatened species and places. He is the author of The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds (Columbia, 2019), and co-editor of Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations (Columbia, 2017).

Joshua Lobb teaches Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. His stories have appeared in The Bridport Prize Anthology, Best Australian Stories, Animal Studies Journal, Griffith Review, Text and Southerly. His ‘novel in stories’ about grief and climate change, The Flight of Birds was shortlisted for the 2019 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and the 2020 Mascara Literary Review Avant Garde Awards for Best Fiction. He is also part of the multi-authored project, 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder.

Peter Minter is an award-winning poet, poetry editor and writer on poetry and poetics. His widely anthologised and translated poetry is published in books that include Rhythm in a Dorsal Fin, Empty Texas, blue grass and In the Serious Light of Nothing. He was a founding editor of Cordite poetry magazine, poetry editor for leading Australian journals Meanjin and Overland, and has co-edited anthologies such as Calyx: 30 Contemporary Australian Poets and the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature. He teaches Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, where his current literary research is focused on transcultural ecopoetics.

Dalia Nassar is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. She works on German romanticism and idealism, the philosophy of nature, aesthetics and environmental philosophy. Her current project focuses on a distinctive methodological approach to nature, which emerged in the late Enlightenment and Early Romanticism, and on the ways that this methodology can be brought to bear on current environmental questions and concerns. She is the author of The Romantic Absolute: Being and Knowing in German Romantic Philosophy, 1795-1804, which considers the meaning of the crucial notion of the ‘Absolute’ in German philosophy between Kant and Hegel, and editor of the collection, The Relevance of Romanticism: Essays on German Romantic Philosophy.


This is a free event, registration is required due to limited numbers complying with NSW Covid restrictions. For more information, visit the 2021 Sydney Festival website.