Features

Outsides and insides: Covid-19 seen from the first floor of a house in Mirpur, Dhaka

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In this contribution to Somatosphere’s Dispatches from the Pandemic we attend to practices of boundary making, of separating outsides from insides. The new coronavirus appeared on the global stage as a threatening invader that is to be kept outside of human bodies. But it is not obvious how to achieve this. Where and how to make the boundaries around those …

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Provincializing Metabolism (On the Poverty of Modernism)

According to accepted wisdom and textbooks, “metabolism” is a nineteenth-century term and concept, established at the confluence of organic chemistry, cell biology, and physiology. In Microscopical Researches (1839), Schwann spoke of the “metabolic phenomena of the cells,” using for the first time the adjective metabolische, from which “metabolic” entered the English language in the 1847 translation (Bing 1971). This standard …

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Decentering Metabolism: Peripheral and Southern Diffractions

In the last few years, a renewed interest in metabolic exchange, and in ideas of a porous and permeable body, has come from disciplines like microbiomics, nutrigenomics, and epigenetics. Moreover, a number of technological changes from food manufacturing to different body/technology interfaces have brought to light conceptions of a “new metabolism” offering “a window onto profound changes to the material and conceptual constitution of …

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Toxic Disavowal

Figure 1. “Residents want out of industrial ghetto.” Photo by Lloyd Fox for the Baltimore Sun, 1998.

In April 1998, Jeanette succumbed to terminal cancer. She was only 56. Her obituary described her as a “high-energy grandmother with short, spiky hair” and a committed “environmental activist.”[1] Jeanette died fighting for a buyout of her home on Wagner’s Point, a …

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Art, the Clinic, and the Political Exercise of Thinking

From 2002-2013, the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona (MACBA) brought together professionals from the fields of psychoanalysis, art therapy, and anthropology to provide different services for a variety of groups and individuals in an effort to create new forms of socialization between the museum and the city. In the words of the former director of MACBA’s Public Programs, the intention …

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Against Forgetting: Telling Stories After Zika

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Contra o Esquecimento: Contando Histórias após o Zika

Dois anos atrás, em um aeroporto, enquanto esperava uma conexão, recebi uma mensagem de WhatsApp de uma mulher no Brasil que conheci através da minha pesquisa de campo e trabalho voluntário em Salvador, capital do estado da Bahia. Ela era uma das mães associadas a uma ONG …