Laura A. Ogden, “Loss and Wonder at the World’s End” (Duke UP, 2021)

In this podcast Laura A. Ogden, cultural anthropologist at Dartmouth College, introduces her beautifully crafted book Loss and Wonder at the World’s End (Duke University Press, 2021).

In Loss and Wonder at the World’s End, Ogden brings together animals, people, and things—from beavers, stolen photographs, lichen, American explorers, and birdsong—to catalog the ways environmental change and colonial history are entangled in the Fuegian Archipelago of southernmost Chile and Argentina. Repeated algal blooms have closed fisheries in the archipelago. Glaciers are in retreat. Extractive industries such as commercial forestry, natural gas production, and salmon farming along with the introduction of nonnative species are rapidly transforming assemblages of life. Ogden archives forms of loss—including territory, language, sovereignty, and life itself—as well as forms of wonder, or moments when life continues to flourish even in the ruins of these devastations. Her account draws on long-term ethnographic research with settler and Indigenous communities; archival photographs; explorer journals; and experiments in natural history and performance studies. Loss and Wonder at the World’s End frames environmental change as imperialism’s shadow, a darkness cast over the earth in the wake of other losses.

Elize Mazadiego is an art historian in Modern and Contemporary art (PhD, University of California San Diego), with a specialism in Latin American art. She is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Amsterdam and author of the book Dematerialization and the Social Materiality of Art: Experimental Forms in Argentina, 1955-1968 (Brill, 2021).

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