PANEL & BOOKSIGNING: Global Perspectives: Bathsheba Demuth, Joe Cook, Cristina Mormorunni & Subhankar Banerjee with Jimmy Santiago Baca

Thursday, December 5, 2019 6pm – 8pm

Presented by 516 ARTS & UNM Art & Ecology Program
At 516 ARTS

516 ARTS welcomes special guest, author/historian Bathsheba Demuth, in conversation with biologist Joe Cook and conservationist Cristina Mormorunni. This final public forum for the exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande (on view at 516 ARTS through December 28), looks beyond the Rio Grande to the larger context of the global crisis. This discussion will span topics of arts, environment, economics, history, citizen science, conservation, and re-introduction of the Buffalo in the western United States. It is moderated by exhibition cocurator Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair & Professor, UNM Art & Ecology Program, and opens with a poetry reading by Jimmy Santiago Baca which begins with Buffalo Poem.


BATHSEHBA DEMUTH, PhD, special guest speaker, is author of the new book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, a groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between capitalism, communism, and Arctic ecology since the dawn of the industrial age. Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.

JOE COOK, PhD, is a Regent’s Professor of Biology and Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Southwestern Biology at UNM. His research is both local and international, providing training in conservation and molecular evolution of mammals. Over the past three decades, Cook led international field projects and worked with communities, resource managers, scientists, and citizen scientists––from Alaska and Siberia to across Latin America––to build Archival Observatories that explore relationships between environmental change, conservation, management, and human health. In 2016, Cook received the Joseph Grinnell Award from the American Society of Mammalogists. In 2019, he conducted research in Ecuador as a Fullbright scholar.

CRISTINA MORMORUNNI, Director, U.S. Field Conservation & Regional Director, Rocky Mountain West, has worked in conservation for over 25 years, developing and leading diverse programs from the Arctic to the Antarctic. She founded the TERRAMAR consulting group in 2005 to design and evaluate marine and terrestrial conservation strategies for foundations. Her work focuses on connecting and deepening the relationships that link culture, environment, and economy, and she is working at the forefront of the movement to re-introduce the Buffalo in the western United States. She recently completed an MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Jimmy Santiago Baca, a renowned poet of Chicano and Apache descent, was abandoned as a childand began to read and write poetry in prison. His prolific career includes over a dozen books of poetry as well as memoirs, essays, stories and a screenplay. Baca’s work is concerned with social justice and revolves around the marginalized and disenfranchised. He holds an honorary PhD in literature from UNM.

Subhankar Banerjee, co-curator of the exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande, serves as Lannan Chair and Professor of Art & Ecology at the University of New Mexico. He has been doing ongoing environmental work in New Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska’s Arctic. In all three places, he has witnessed extreme impacts of climate breakdown and biological annihilation. He is active in campaigns for multispecies justice and his recent research is on the global biological crisis.