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Lost Species Day 2022: Extinction, Endangerment & Dark Humour with Nicole Seymour

1 December 2022
6:30 pm
7:30 pm

In this online talk, acclaimed queer thinker and author of ‘Bad Environmentalism’ Nicole Seymour will explore the role that dark humour might play in grappling with the tragedy of species loss.

In 2016, ecocritic Ursula Heise asked, “Is it possible to move beyond the story templates of elegy and tragedy and yet to express … concern that nonhuman species not be harmed?” Her book, Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species, answers in the affirmative. But it offers only one example of the specific genre of comedy as an alternative template. In this talk, Nicole Seymour will build on Heise’s book and her own previous book, 2018’s Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age, to explore the role that dark humour might play in grappling with the tragedy of species loss. Surveying examples ranging from Elyne Quan’s 2015 short play “Cuisine” to the kids’ media franchise Ice Age to design group Moooi’s Extinct Animals Bedding Collection, Seymour finds an underexplored body of “extinction humour,” as well as targets that are ripe for the kind of critique that dark humour uniquely provides.

This event is part of ONCA’s Lost Species Day 2022 programme, Queer(ing) Ecological Futures, a diverse range of online and in-person talks and workshops that celebrate imaginings of multiple possible futures beyond mainstream notions and investigate what it means to queer death and ‘extinction’.

All events are free but donations are warmly welcomed. This year, any donations will go to ONCA, helping us continue our vital work of creatively challenging the driving forces of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.


Nicole Seymour researches the roles that queer styles and affects play in environmental movements. She is the author of two monographs, Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination (University of Illinois Press, 2013), and Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). The former received the 2015 Book Award for Ecocriticism from the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, while the latter was supported by a Carson Fellowship from the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany.

Dr. Seymour is Associate Professor of English at California State University, Fullerton, where she serves as the Graduate Advisor for the Environmental Studies Program. She is also a curator for NXTerra, an open-access repository of climate pedagogy materials developed by faculty across the California State University and University of California systems. In addition to her fellowship project, Dr. Seymour is currently working on topics including feminist plastic art, vegan satire, and contemporary Indigenous poetry.


This online talk in English will be recorded (speaker view) and then shared later, with subtitles, on ONCA’s YouTube channel. Please note that by attending you consent to this recording. Email with any questions about accessibility.

This event has been made possible by support from Sussex Humanities Lab and University of London.

Sussex Humanities Lab is an interdisciplinary research programme at the University of Sussex that experiments with digital methods in research and investigates the interactions between technology and culture, society and environment in order to imagine and create more sustainable and just futures for all.


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Please contact or 01273 607101 if you have specific access needs, please note the gallery is wheelchair accessible but the toilet is up five stairs. We have hearing assistive technology and our staff have Basic BSL & Deaf Awareness training. For more information about access and facilities at ONCA please click here.


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