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Chemical kinship: Interdisciplinary experiments with pollution

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Angeliki Balayannis, Emma Garnett

Original languageEnglish
JournalCatalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience
Issue number1

King's Authors


Feminist technoscientific research with chemicals is proliferating. This paper considers how this scholarship extends environmental justice research on pollution. We are concerned with two key questions: How can we do/design ethical research with chemicals? And what methods allow for researching chemicals without resorting to an imagined space of purity? We consider unfolding projects which reorient relations with chemicals from villainous objects with violent effects, to chemical kin. We imagine chemical kinship as a concept, an analytical tool, and a mode of relating. Emerging through feminist and anticolonial work with chemicals, chemical kinship involves a tentativeness towards making normative claims about chemicals because, like kin, these materials are never entirely good nor bad; at once, they can both be enabling and harmful. This paper considers what the unfolding research with chemicals generates, and consolidates conceptualizations of chemical kinship; we ultimately articulate an agenda for ethical research with chemicals as an experimental process of invention

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