Toxics: A Symposium on Exposure, Entanglement, and Endurance held at Yale University on March 3rd and 4th, was heralded as “the most important conversation on body burdens yet.” Body burden refers to the amount of burden a human or animal body takes as a result of accumulated toxins from the environment, including food, air, and water. It’s become a serious issues in recent years because all humans tested–including newborns— carry a body burden of industrial chemicals. This has resulted in the upset in ideas about the role of environmental regulations and rights, the ideal of purity when speaking about contamination, and even the way science is done because there are no longer uncontaminated control groups.
I heard about the Toxics Symposium not in an academic publication or from a university newsletter, but on my Facebook feed. Social media is no longer an odd place to get intellectual direction. From providing water cooler talk to a place to build academic community, Twitter has become a place to micro-blog academic insight in particular. In fact, the person espousing the importance of the Toxics Symposium in broader conversations about body burdens had “attended” via Twitter.
And so I give you #Toxic2016 in its original form, but arranged according to some of the most pressing concerns within body burden research in the interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities:
The New Normal, the New Nature, the Old Economic System
Embodied, Uneven Pollution & Its Roots