What is Chemical Pollution? From Bad Relations and Decolonial Futures
Monday, May 10, 2021, 3:30pm-5:00pm (EDT)
Speaker: Michelle Murphy, Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto
This event is open to the public. Please register here.
In communities and in universities, environmental justice projects often must mobilize scientific understandings of what chemical pollutants are and do. Yet, the technical information about what pollutants are and do is so often created by the very corporate actors who are most culpable for creating pollution. Based on industry produced data collected by government agencies, air monitoring data, environmental standards, and toxic release databases do not prevent pollution, but instead oversee a permission-to-pollute regulatory system that allows corporations and other entities to continue polluting. More than this, for Indigenous communities facing disproportionate environmental violence, pollution is an active form of colonialism and an expression of racial capitalism. This talk asks how we might rethink what pollution is and does through epistemologies and responsibilities that better support decolonial land protection. What core categories and concerns of environmental justice’s engagements with technoscience need to be rethought? Building from Indigenous and Black feminisms, as well as land defense around the lower Great Lakes, and with a focus on petrochemical pollution, the talk will ask how chemicals can be reimagined with and against technoscience towards decolonial futures. This event is open to the public. Please register here.
Michelle Murphy is a Professor in History and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. She is an STS scholar whose research concerns decolonial and feminist approaches to environmental, reproductive and data justice. Murphy's current research focuses on the relationships between pollution, colonialism, and technoscience on the lower Great Lakes. They are tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Science & Technology Studies and Environmental Data Justice, as well as Co-Director of the Technoscience Research Unit, which hosts an Indigenous-led Environmental Data Justice lab and is home for social justice and decolonial approaches to Science and Technology Studies. She is the author of three books: Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty, Seizing the Means of Reproduction, The Economization of Life, all published by Duke University Press. She is Métis from Winnipeg from a Métis and French Canadian family.