Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Environment and Environmental Inequality
Secondary Theme: Technology
From the suddenness of industrial accidents to the long durée of radiologically contaminated landscapes, toxicities refract and diffract across entangled and shifting temporal scales, saturating bodies and ecologies. Toxicities can evoke chronopolitical speculation about future possibilities for remediation or decay, precarious anxieties about possible threats to life and liveliness, calls for justice among the exposed, and biopolitical contentions about how to circumscribe and regulate allowable levels of risk. Toxicities can be tensed historically as inheritances from past exploitations, mobilized politically to oppose future extraction or military-industrial activity, or lurk in the slow violence of an already contaminated everyday. The authors in this session explore how diverse toxins/toxicities - chemical, biological, radiological, and interpersonal - can converge and propagate simultaneously, within the intersecting time horizons of politics, finance, ecosystems, governance, medicine, activist opposition, and work. The panelists engage these questions ethnographically: among U.S. nuclear weapons waste experts grappling with unanticipated chemical reactions; through a Baltimore neighborhood with a 200-year history of exposure to petrochemicals; among residents of a Bulgarian town known for its Soviet-built nuclear power plant; in a Japanese evidentiary regime for post-Fukushima radiation science; and within communities subjected to 40-years of Soviet nuclear testing in Kazakhstan.