Cornell University

SAP: “Madness as Auguring Extinction"

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Uris Hall, GO8
Central Campus

A sepulchral note has finally entered the insistently optimistic global discourse on climate change produced by the Conference of Parties (COP). With the introduction of the language of "loss and damage," several parties to the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) have acknowledged that climate change may not be mitigated or adapted to, that there is lasting damage to human settlements and ecosystems, even to species being. In this paper I explore how the language of loss and damage allows us to speak of the damage wrought by the social as much as by the environmental, embodied in the figures of the traumatized, the mad or the psychically afflicted.  These figures, explored more specifically on silt islands in Bangladesh, provide a vantage to a consideration of extinction as not only the sudden vanishing of species, as it is represented in extinction studies, but also as modes of self-extinguishing.  They remind us that life is not only about self-preservation but also about destruction.

Biography: Naveeda Khan is the author of Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan (2012) and editor of Beyond Crisis: Re-evaluating Pakistan ​ (2010). She is presently working on a new manuscript tentatively titled "Steps to a Romantic Anthropology: River Life and Climate Change" based on her recent research on Bangladesh.

Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program


anthro, anthro-colloquium


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Barry Doeffinger

Contact Phone



Naveeda Khan

Speaker Affiliation

Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

Disability Access Information

GO8 accessible. Other call 6072558493

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