Lectures

Clean in Times of Covid-19: on Hygiene and Pollution

This article is part of the series:

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, air pollution and greenhouse emissions decrease, or so news reports say. The satellite images of China in lockdown provided a first striking example. In response to this, one Dutch newspaper even proclaimed ‘a winner’ in the coronavirus pandemic, namely ‘the environment’. But that is a bit too hasty. Not only are (as environmental experts warn) …

BooksFeatures

Book Forum: Daniel Renfrew’s Life Without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay

Introduction

Daniel Renfrew’s Life Without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay (2018) is a masterful undertaking on the anthropology of disaster and its everydayness. An ethnographic portrayal that is prismatic in its attention, the book combines numerous elements––place, civic performance, history, political economy––to bear on the lead poisoning epidemic in Montevideo, Uruguay at the turn of the 21st

Books

Susanna Trnka’s One Blue Child: Asthma, Responsibility, and the Politics of Global Health

One Blue Child: Asthma, Responsibility, and the Politics of Global Health

By Susanna Trnka

Stanford University Press, 2017, 262 pages.

 

Bringing children to the field can change an anthropologist’s relationship to fieldwork immensely. For University of Auckland anthropologist, Susanna Trnka, bringing her children to the Czech Republic quickly became a confronting medical experience when her nine-year-old daughter suffered her …

Features

Human Contamination: The Infectious Border Crossings of Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X

This article is part of the series:

“What if an infection was a message, a brightness a kind of symphony? As a defense? An odd form of communication? If so, the message had not been received, would probably never be received” (Acceptance 490).

“What if containment is a joke?” (Acceptance 576).

It all begins with a thorn: the delicate, glittering prickle of an unidentified plant

Features

Making a Case for Reducing Pollution in China, or The Case of the Ugly Sperm

The Chinese film, Under the Dome, tells the story of a former CCTV news anchor’s struggle to understand and deal with smog in the wake of her pregnancy and motherhood. The filmmaker and narrator, Chai Jing, makes a case for reducing pollution in China by highlighting the potential correlation between Beijing’s smog and the tumor found in her developing fetus, …

Features

Bio-Ethnography: A Collaborative, Methodological Experiment in Mexico City

In 1993, a team of U.S.-based environmental health researchers partnered with public health officials in Mexico to form ELEMENT (Early Life Exposure in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants). The project aimed to study the effects of chemical exposures, particularly lead, on fetal and childhood growth and neurological development in what the United Nation then designated as the most polluted city on …