Lectures

Viral Waste, or Covid Down the Toilet: Post-Colonic Pandemic Biopolitics

This article is part of the series:

Within days of discovering SARS-CoV-2, laboratory scientists and epidemiologists were speculating on whether the virus might take fecal passage, and thereby spread through contamination with bodily waste. But the fecal-oral route of transmission quickly proved a dead end, an etiological cul-de-sac. The pressure to inquire into shit, however, is always difficult to resist. Before long, experts in wastewater …

Lectures

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

This article is part of the series:

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 …

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) …

Features

Beach

Beaches are good places to think with about waste and ruination. They were once generically places of waste (in the etymological sense of “unoccupied, uncultivated”) while recognized as actants in processes of ruination—including erosion that produced their defining shingle and sand, the death and decay of what washes up on them, and the shipwrecks they induced. In the industrializing world …

Features

The Bananization of Nuclear Things

Fukushima: from the coasts of India’s Tamil Nadu to the halls of the German Bundestag, the word now stands for danger and deception, contamination and vulnerability. Every day brings new distress. Cesium-137 clings tenaciously to the soil and buildings of northeastern Japan. Radioactive fish promenade across the Pacific. Over 40% of children examined by the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey …

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