Disciplinary Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Conversations
Date: 8 – 9 July 2021
Convenor: Simone M. Müller (München, GER), Angeliki Balayannis (Exeter, GBR)
In the age of the Anthropocene our commons, such as air, water, and ground, are increasingly toxic and the experience of toxic exposure, albeit not equal, is increasingly common. We lack, however, tools of analysis to scrutinize these developments of an everyday toxic exposure. Rather, scholars in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental justice, toxicity studies, and environmental history of toxicity and poisons, rely on binary notions of externalization that divide between an outside and inside system, victims and perpetrators, and suggest that there exists a safe haven (free of toxicity) as well as (eventually) an ultimate sink.
This interdisciplinary workshop seeks to scrutinize both the concept as well as phenomenon of the toxic commons for the study of global environmental justice and the commons. The workshop aims to engage both in theoretical discussions about the concept as well as to learn from the study of toxic commons through concrete case studies. Contributions focus on concepts of commons and externalization or practices of resistance and commoning. Case studies exemplify toxic commons in urban settings or introduce the body as a toxic commons. The final session scrutinizes how the concept of the toxic commons opens up new avenues for artist-research engagement and new pathways for academic communication to a wider public. Scholars come from the fields of history, sociology, anthropology, law, and the arts.