4S 2021 Panel | Toxic Goodness: Harmful Legacies, Hopeful Futures

How do you cultivate good practices, relationships, and things in an environment of toxicants, toxic politics, and toxic relationalities? How do toxic production systems--based on extractivism, colonialism, and plantation capitalism--foment new forms of sustainability that cannot be excised from their deadly foundations? This open call examines urgent tensions between toxic legacies and hopeful futures when it comes to so-called renewable energies, green/blue/bio-economies, waste management systems, and sustainable agriculture/aquaculture. Such hopeful alternatives to unsustainable production systems hold within them the possibility of working towards a “Greater Good,” however, “goodness” is largely built on toxic colonial and capitalist foundations that are rendered invisible through sustainability discourse. In other words, in making sustainable things or practices, toxicities in many forms are in fact often sustained. This panel will therefore investigate the ways scientists, investors, and producers in the agricultural, aquacultural, and waste sectors build on toxic legacies as they seek to render generative material processes--such as photosynthesis, bioremediation, and fermentation--into sustainable tools. We encourage papers that empirically illuminate how social systems and material processes together shore up, generate, and maintain toxicity. Such investigations will open space to question whether and how good relations could be cultivated out of toxic relationships without assuming toxicity can be entirely expunged. The overall aim of this open panel is thus to critically address how sustainable processes depend on toxic production systems, as a first step towards activating better ways of living amid toxicity.


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Created date

September 7, 2021

Group Audience

Cite as

Duygu Kasdogan, Jessica Caporusso and Katie Ulrich. 7 September 2021, "4S 2021 Panel | Toxic Goodness: Harmful Legacies, Hopeful Futures", STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 7 October 2021, accessed 19 August 2022. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/4s-2021-panel-toxic-goodness-harmful-legacies-hopeful-futures