Toxicity Incorporated: Toxic Assets, Privileged Bodies, and the Affects of Toxic Management
Appeals to the toxic are pervasive today, whether leveraged in a medical, environmental, economic, or social sense. While toxicity is seemingly given transparent responsibility for actual effects in human (often privileged) bodies the incidence of cancer in those copresent with certain toxic elements in given quantities it is also, I suggest, performative: consonant with the flexible demands of risk society. Toxicity thus produces both the threatening nature and the externality of proximate objects. The talk proceeds by following several seemingly incommensurable discursive and material sites in which toxicity is animated, paying particular attention to the financial entity called a toxic asset, and tracking their affective dynamics. Throughout, I attend in particular to the racial, sexual, and economic registers of toxicity, suggesting that they deeply inform toxic notions rather than being incidental to them.
Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor of Gender & Womens Studies at...More >>