Storying Futures of the Always-Already Extinct

Challenging Human Exceptionalism; Exploring Animal Survivance


  • Benjamin J. Kapron York University



extinction, human exceptionalism, animal futurity, animal agency, (Indigenous) survivance


This paper contends that anthropogenic mass extinction cannot be overcome via discourses that only humans can prevent extinctions: such discourses uphold problematic assumptions of human exceptionalism. This paper takes up Gerald Vizenor’s concept of survivance, which upholds Indigenous futures and speaks of Indigenous peoples’ continuous agential survival against settler colonialism, to challenge human exceptionalism, assert animal agency, and envision transformative futures where all animals―human and nonhuman―might survive with ethics and justice.

Author Biography

Benjamin J. Kapron, York University

Benjamin J. Kapron is a Ph.D. candidate in York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, exploring how he might develop and inform his decolonial and ethical praxes, as a settler, through understanding Land to be a decolonial agent and teacher. Ben looks to learn particularly from Lands where he has lived, namely, Baawitigong / Sault Ste. Marie, Nogojiwanong / Peterborough, and Tkaronto / Toronto. In his work, Ben aims to bring into conversation environmental ethics and philosophy; decolonization, Indigenous studies, and settler colonial studies; and critical environmental thought challenging human exceptionalism and exemptionalism. Ben is a member of the UnderCurrents Editorial Collective, working as a Managing Editor of this volume.


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How to Cite

Kapron, B. J. (2022). Storying Futures of the Always-Already Extinct: Challenging Human Exceptionalism; Exploring Animal Survivance. UnderCurrents: Journal of Critical Environmental Studies, 21, 26–34.