Big Ideas 2017

Fiona Probyn-Rapsey

In a time when species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate, the word extinction and the phrase going extinct seem ill-equipped to account for both the level of catastrophe but also the cultural politics that surround extinction events. Rather than thinking about how species go extinct (as if they take themselves there), I am interested in how the rhetoric of extinction obscures the cultural politics of eradication that underlies extinctions. A cultural politics of eradication draws attention to the beliefs and practices that have to be in place in order for a species to be rendered eradicable. In this talk, I will outline what a cultural politics of eradication looks like in contemporary Australia.


Fiona Probyn-Rapsey is Professor and Head of the UOW School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Her research spans feminist and postcolonial studies, with more recent work in the emergent field of animal studies.

Last reviewed: 6 June, 2017