Extinction: Biology, Culture, and our Futures

Event time: 
Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 10:30am
Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT
Event description: 


Extinction: Biology, Culture, and Our Futures
a daylong symposium
10:30 AM, Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium

The Columbiad, or Migration of American Wild Passenger Pigeons
by Anthony Philip Heinrich, North American Premiere, performed by the Yale Symphony Orchestra
7:30 PM, Woolsey Hall

Symposium Speakers Include:

Resit Akçakaya, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University
Neely Bruce, Professor of Music and American Studies, Wesleyan University
David Harrison, Professor of Linguistics, Swarthmore College
Ursula Heise, Professor of English, UCLA
Ben Novak, Lead Researcher of “The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback,” The Long Now Foundation
Lukas Rieppel, Assistant Professor of History, Brown
David Sepkoski, Research Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the extinction of American Passenger Pigeons, the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities is pleased to announce two events on Saturday, October 11.  Extinction: Biology, Culture, and Our Futures is a symposium on the scientific, cultural, and humanistic implications of human mediated extinction. The event brings together biologists, historians of science, linguists, and literary scholars for lectures and discussions on extinction. The symposium will report on the contemporary extinction crisis, and reflect on the broader implications of extinction for the planet’s biota, human cultures, and our understanding of ourselves.

Following the symposium, we are pleased to sponsor the North American premiere of The Columbiad, or Migration of American Wild Passenger Pigeons performed by the Yale Symphony Orchestra. This symphony was composed by Anthony Philip Heinrich in 1857 and was inspired by the spectacular migration of the wild Passenger Pigeons in the United States before their demise. Heinrich immigrated  to the United in the early 19th century and ultimately settled in Kentucky where he became acquainted  with John James Audubon and the American wilderness. Heinrich was a classically trained musician, and became the first symphonic composer in America. He composed a number of grand programmatic works for symphony about the American landscape. The Columbiad was composed in 1857, and was performed only once in Prague to great acclaim in the same year. The YSO performance will be both the New World Premiere and the first performance in over 150 years.

Full Schedule of Events

10:30                          Coffee and Tea, Room 108, Whitney Humanities Center (WHC), 53 Wall Street

10:45                           Welcome to Yale and Introducing the Conference, Auditorium, WHC, 53 Wall Street
                                                      Richard Prum, Director of the Franke Program and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

11:00                           David Sepkoski, Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction & the Value of Diversity
                                    Lukas Rieppel, Bringing Dinosaurs Back to Life at the American
                                                                     Museum of Natural History   

                                                        Moderator: Henry Cowles, Assistant Professor, History of Medicine, Yale

12:15                             Lunch 

1:30                              Resit Akçakaya, Predicting and Preventing Extinctions in an Era of Climate Change
                                     Ben Novak, How To Bring Passenger Pigeons All the Way Back
                                                         ModeratorWalter Jetz, Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Yale

2:45                               Coffee & Tea, Room 108 WHC

3:00                               David Harrison, Extinction and Survival of Languages
                                      Ursula Heise, How We Learned To Start Worrying and Love Extinction Stories
                                                         Moderator: Karen Hébert, Assistant Professor
                                                                         Anthropology and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale

4:15                              Neely Bruce, Introducing Heinrich’s The Columbiad, with piano

5:00                              Richard Prum, Concluding Remarks                              

7:30                              The Yale Symphony Orchestra Performs The Columbiad, Woolsey Hall
                                               The concert is free and unticketed.