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December 9, 2020

rhythms of capacity - What might it mean to think of capacity as a rhythm? And what sort of things does understanding rhythms of capacity in relation to its 'sonic' register permit or discourage that understanding it as a temporal register does not? 

"Lost capacity, improvised capacity, missing and future capacity; these, my informants (people who have worked in the three sites I studied) differ- entiated, as Geissler’s parasitologists did, in terms of temporal qualities of rhythm and direction." - I am very interested in this notion of 'capacity' as it relates to the African scientist in toxicology, but I am also curious about what the limits of scientific capacity might mean for the potentials of sociopolitical capacity in these spaces too. The books attempts to frame the Senegalese scientist as acting in mutual roles as civil scientist with an agenda for public good and experts with no agenda other than the work. How might we consider both at the limits of capacity? 

"Toxicology is a field defined by a general object - poison and its effects - rather than by its methods or applications; it is a branch of many sciences and disciplines, from chemistry and pharmacology to forensics, occupational health, and environmental sciences. It has many histories, dating back to 'the earliest humans,' but is generally agreed to have gained in importance and coherence in the twentieth century as a result of two factors. The first is the synthesis of new compounds, from the late nineteeth century and accelerating from the mid-twentieth, and their propagation (as with older poisons such as lead) due to technological progress paired with the intensification of industrial manufacturing, agriculture, extraction, and consumption. The second is the proliferation of regulatory institutions and laws concerned with controlling toxins in foods and drugs and other commodities, in workplaces, and in the environment, which also accelerated after World War II."

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