Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Ideas for Paper

gmchung's picture

Kolbert talks a lot about displacement and extinction. In chapter one, she highlights the near extinction with frogs due to a fungus. People have made attempts to save the frogs by taking them out of their natural habitats and into clean, sterile tanks. For this paper, I am interested using both Teju Cole’s and Greening the Ghetto. I might want to dissect the issues of colonialism and imperialism in relation to the frogs. I am also interested in exploring what humans can do now after living through a world that is so built on imperialism. Since Kolbert also wrote Greening the Ghetto, I will be looking out for the similarities and differences in her writing compared to in The Sixth Extinction. 


If for some reason, this initial idea does not work out, I may use Bloodchild to help me explore ideas of two species being placed together. Kolbert talks a lot about how because of environmental destruction, many species that have not been in contact with each other are all of a sudden being in contact with each other. I am still getting through the book in order to find a chapter that will best suit this idea, but I may use Chapter 9. 


Anne Dalke's picture

So you’ve barely begun to sketch out possibilities here; there’s lots of work left to do….I’m going to pair you up with Sydney tomorrow, since she, too, is interested in those frogs. Maybe rubbing your idea of “Bloodchild” (two species placed together) up against hers of “The Ones Who Walk Away” (or: the impossibility of doing so) can generate some new ideas.

What most captures my attention here, though, is your interest in “colonialism and imperialism in relation to the frogs.” This ties together issues of environmentalism and social inequity in a way that is quite dissimilar from—but maybe leads directly to?--what Van Jones is doing. You are gesturing towards the ways in which historical structures and practices of inequity caused current environmental disruption; he is trying to get us to solve both problems with a single solution: greening the ghetto.  Where can you find the history that lies behind (and explains and justifies?) the current activism?