Reading Zoos in the Age of the Anthropocene


29 October 2020
17:15 - 19:00

Keynote: Juno Salazar Parreñas, “The Price of Proliferation”

Image © Juno Salazar Parreñas

The Price of Proliferation: Captive Breeding and the Multispecies Politics of Female Sexual Reproduction in the Sixth Age of Extinction

Keynote: Juno Salazar Parreñas (Cornell)

Thursday, 29 October, 2020
Time: 17.15–19.00
Location: Online

Critically endangered orangutans that have been displaced by deforestation and agricultural industrialization are sent to rehabilitation centers. Confined in such spaces, they have free access to each other. This fosters a problem of systematic sexual violence borne by female orangutans, including prepubescent ones. Forced copulation facilitated by rehabilitation centers is ultimately valued as a strategy for population growth amidst the Sixth Extinction, even though acts often involve prepubescent female orangutans and therefore are non-reproductive. How is the exploitation of female sexual reproduction a central strategy for conservation practitioners? How might ideologies of growth impact qualities of life for endangered wildlife? This talk uses interdisciplinary qualitative methods of animal behavioral sampling, participant-observation, discourse analysis, archival research, and interviews to explain how animal welfare is compromised at the expense of human cultural values in growth and heteronormative sexuality.

Juno Salazar Parreñas is Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies & Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation (Duke UP, 2018), which received the 2019 Michelle Z. Rosaldo Prize, biennially awarded by the Association for Feminist Anthropology for a first book, and the editor of Gender: Animals (Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, 2017).