How can a living be made at the edge of extinction, when colonial legacies help determine who and what are in better positions to survive severe ecological impact? This talk examines the rehabilitation of wildlife in Sarawak, present-day Malaysia, as a means to eke out a living for both endangered species native to Sarawak and the Sarawakian people whose job is to care for them. It looks at the everyday forms of enclosure at Sarawak’s orangutan rehabilitation centers that generate a political theory of decolonization and the embodied work of care at these sites in order to examine what kind of future is made possible for a species caught in an extinction economy. This talk is based on seventeen months of ethnographic field research in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia between 2008 and 2010.
Juno Salazar Parreñas is assistant professor in Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. Parreñas' qualitative research speaks to feminist science studies, environmental humanities, critical development studies, and global political economy. She is working on her first book project, Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation, which examines the question of how to live in the face of species loss and environmental displacement. Her article, “Producing Affect: Transnational volunteerism in a Malaysian orangutan rehabilitation center,” received the 2013 General Anthropology Division’s Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship Prize, which is one of the American Anthropological Association’s largest prizes for an article. She is also a featured columnist in the Los Angeles based monthly magazine The Lesbian News.