Category Archives: Purity/defilement

New listserv for toxics in the humanities and social sciences

For all of us who work on pollution, toxics, and the afterlife of chemicals more broadly, there is a new, open listserv called Toxics in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It’s description: “This group is for academics and practitioners who study bodily and/or environmental toxins, pollution, and the lives of synthetic chemicals using methodologies in […]
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CFP: Purity

“Purity is the power to contemplate defilement.” – Simone Weil “Purity is a negative state and therefore contrary to nature.” – William Faulkner “Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings.” – Salman Rushdie PURITY is a division, a […]
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Trash’s Competing Utopias

Our dominant waste management practices are decidedly utopic, takings the “no place” of utopia’s etymology quite literally. To create a “good place” of clean, disease-free municipalities, trash is exiled to “no place,” an ideal “away” that effects and troubles no one (except, as course, as environmental justice advocates tell us, someone– usually someones who are poor and part of minority communities– lives in “no place “).