Special Series: Sensorial Engagements with a Toxic World

Curated by Chisato Fukuda, University of Wisconsin-Madison We dwell in an atmosphere of uncertainty. From visible ambient matters like smog to odorless contaminants from radiation, toxic conditions force us to continually adapt to, resist, and make sense of the spaces we inhabit. Bodies are exposed to an array of materials, from particulates, chemicals, and pathogens that […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

The Incinerator Does Not Exist: Sensory Engagement with Toxic Potentials

By Chloe Ahmann, George Washington University On the streets of Curtis Bay, a community in south Baltimore, talk of the local trash incinerator is pervasive. People complain about its pungent odor, lament its effects on air quality, and worry about its ties to respiratory ailments. Amidst an already congested industrial landscape, where the cumulative effects of […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Attending to the Senses in Toxic Exposure

By Amelia Fiske, Christian-Albrechts-Universität In his Quito office, Camilo was showing me slides from a presentation he delivered at Brown University a few years before to explain how people in Amazon come in contact with the industrial chemicals used in oil production. A trained biologist, he lived in the Amazon in the 1990s and has since […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Radioactive Contamination and Citizen Science after Fukushima

By Maxime Polleri, York University Rising a whopping 13 microsieverts per hour, it took a single step for my Geiger counter to go berserk. Telling a different story about this seemingly undistinguished patch of grass, my radiation detection monitor lit up like a Christmas tree. I was walking around Iitate, a small Japanese village deeply affected […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

A Sense for Chemical Care

By Ali Kenner, Drexel University When anthropologists and other social scientists attend to chemical and industrial risks, we often focus on how toxics produce illness and disease through exposures that are sensorial, community-based, and derived from infrastructure. Embodied sense for chemicals has also informed different kinds of social and political action, a phenomenon well documented […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

A Fight to Breathe

By Chisato Fukuda, University of Wisconsin-Madison “WE ARE SUFFOCATING!” “WE ARE SUFFOCATING!” “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SMOG!” On January 28th 2017, thousands of protesters chanted and marched through Mongolia’s capital city, enduring -27°C temperatures to demonstrate against air pollution. The protest movement, called Booj Ukhlee (Боож Үхлээ), which has a double meaning, “we are suffocating” […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Chemicals Sit in Places

By Alex Nading, University of Edinburgh Anthropological attention to sensory engagements with chemicals promise to expand and enrich medical anthropology’s notion of place. At a time when global health and the Anthropocene are (for lots of good reasons) in vogue, the essays in this collection ask us to dwell in specificity. Toxicity resists standardization and toxic […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

The “Anecdote” Insult, or, Why Health Policy Needs Stories

by Jessica Mulligan and Emily K. Brunson Sharon asked to be interviewed at a gas station restaurant. It was close to her home so the trip burned minimal gas. And, it had air conditioning. In the middle of a Texas summer she had forgone paying her electric bills in order to purchase refills of the medications she […]

Continue Reading Comments { 1 }

The Society for Medical Anthropology’s Letter to President Trump on the ACA

February 16, 2017 Dear President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Secretary Tom Price, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Lamar Alexander, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader-Elect Charles Schumer, and Representative Kevin Brady: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has prevented thousands of U.S. citizens from experiencing financial ruin due to medical costs […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

The future of trans- medicine under Trump

by Eric Plemons   On the morning of November 8, I assuaged my Election Day anxieties by working on a small grant application that a mentor had suggested she could put in front of some friendly funders. For months I had been developing a project examining how US institutions are responding to a growing demand […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }