International Conference

Toward Extinction, To Ward Off Extinction

7-9 November 2019



Toward Extinction, To Ward Off Extinction


An internationational symposium to be held at the University of Lille (France) on November 7-9, 2019.


The goal of the symposium is to broach the theme of extinction in its manifold complexities. The thesis underlying the project is that it is crucial to think critically the past, present, and future extinctions – as well as the role of human agency in these extinctions and especially in the 6th extinction to come – in order to make the unavoidable avoidable.

More specifically, the aim is to deconstruct anthropocentric exceptionalism and to find new ways of thinking the Earth and the living by putting the emphasis on caring (instead of destroying) and empathy. In particular, we will attempt to articulate an environmental ethics which would allow us, on the one hand, to become eco-responsible (i.e. adopt a sustainable way of living that is not harmful to the environment) and, on the other hand, to become responsible for the ecosphere (notably become responsible for living nonhuman species, as well as for species that are now extinct). That ethics would also enable us to become responsible to futures.


Keynote Speakers: 

Ursula K. Heise, UCLA (USA)

Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex (UK)

Jesse Oak Taylor, University of Washington (USA) 

Sarah Wood, co-editor and advisory board of OLR and Angelaki (UK)


Special guest:

Sylvère Petit (filmmaker, photographer)




Scientific committee : 

Thomas Dutoit (Université de Lille)

Sarah Jonckheere (Université de Lille)

Laura Lainväe (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)

Ronan Ludot-Vlasak (Université de Lille)

Joanny Moulin (Aix-Marseille Université)

Sophie Musitelli  (Université de Lille - IUF)

Claire Omhovère (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)

Christine Reynier (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)

Cécile Roudeau (Université Paris-Diderot)

Philippe Sabot (Université de Lille)

Mathilde Szuba (Sciences Po Lille)