Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Catastrophic ThinkingExtinction and the Value of Diversity from Darwin to the Anthropocene$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Sepkoski

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226348612

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226354613.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Extinction in the Shadow of the Bomb

Extinction in the Shadow of the Bomb

(p.127) 4 Extinction in the Shadow of the Bomb
Catastrophic Thinking

David Sepkoski

University of Chicago Press

Continuing the theme of pessimistic extinction imaginaries, this chapter brings the story to the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War. Catastrophic events like the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki further shook Western faith in progress, and the period between 1950 and 1970 saw increased cultural anxiety about the future of human society in the shadow of the atomic bomb. At the same time, a new model of extinction as a sudden, catastrophic process began to take hold, first in the popular imagination—spurred by speculative theories like Immanuel Velikovsky's cosmic impact scenario and by contemporary science fiction—and later by more mainstream paleontological studies of mass extinction as a regular phenomenon. This scientific and cultural context would be an important basis for the science and politics of extinction and biodiversity that developed at the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   nuclear war, Cold War, Immanuel Velikovsky, postmodernism, mass extinction, Norman Newell, ecological balance

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.