Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

From the development of a national surveillance system to the birth of an international network
Roberto Pasetto and Ivano Iavarone

human activities which have produced or might produce environmental contamination of soil, surface or groundwater, air, food-­chain, resulting or being able to result in human health impacts” (Martuzzi et al. 2014). Industrial a­ ctivities – e­ specially those related to large petrochemical plants, power generation, heavy industry such as steel mills, and ­mining – ­lead to environmental pressure, with potential adverse social and health effects on local communities through both occupational and residential influences (World Health Organization 2009). In recent years

in Toxic truths
Open Access (free)
A tool of environmental justice in Ecuadorian toxic tours
Amelia Fiske

auger in the realms of social or environmental activism has been overlooked. Of particular interest is the way in which the auger enrolls participants as witnesses in the “discovery” of contamination through a range of visceral engagements on the toxic tour: the nostril-­curling smell of the samples, the squish of oily muds between the fingers, or the telltale, incandescent sheen of hydrocarbons. In the process, the buried legacies of old industrial practices (such as the dumping of crude oil and industrial waste in unlined pits in the jungle) are brought to the

in Toxic truths
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Pollution, contamination and the neglected dead in post-war Saigon
Christophe Robert

4 Dead zone: pollution, contamination and the neglected dead in post-war Saigon Christophe Robert Thresholds and water margins: Binh Hung Hoa cemeteries The entrance gates of the Binh Hung Hoa cemeteries are falling apart. The faded, mouldy yellow paint peels off. Some of the gates date back from the time of the American War. One of them displays a date, 1964, the year President Johnson decided to escalate the war in Vietnam. These are the largest cemeteries in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, located in one of the poorest areas in the city. The cemeteries are full and

in Governing the dead
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Science, activism, and policy concerning chemicals in our bodies
Phil Brown, Vanessa De La Rosa and Alissa Cordner

the response by science, government, and social movements. We begin with a select history of how embodied contamination became an important issue, and then discuss how academics and progressive lay–­professional alliances have altered traditional perspectives on science in order to place environmental health science in the service of those affected by contamination. As a case study for how these concerns are played out within a major contamination problem, we focus on per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS), perhaps the most visible class of chemicals now coming

in Toxic truths
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Community-based research amid oil development in South Los Angeles
Bhavna Shamasunder, Jessica Blickley, Marissa Chan, Ashley Collier-Oxandale, James L. Sadd, Sandy Navarro, Nicole J. Wong and Michael Hannigan

merits of their concern and compel regulatory agencies, the state, and corporations to respond. As connected to the larger post-­truth stories presented in this volume, strong scientific evidence on an issue (such as climate change) (Oreskes and Conway 2011) may be weighed alongside efforts to cast doubt on existing knowledge or call for ever more data collection as a way to delay or deter action. In Los Angeles, today’s environmental justice struggles to address health hazards from oil contamination in neighborhoods are inherited from decades of environmental justice

in Toxic truths
Open Access (free)
Sovereignty and the politics of dead bodies
Editor: Finn Stepputat

This book looks at sovereignty as a particular form of power and politics. It shows that the fate of bodies in the transition from life to death can provide a key to understanding fundamental ways in which sovereignty is claimed and performed. The contributions analyse (post-)conflict as well as non-conflict contexts, which too often are studied in isolation from one another. Focusing on contemporary issues rather than the equally important historical dimensions, they all grapple with the questions of who governs the dead bodies, how, why and with what effects. The book analyses how dead bodies are placed and dealt with in spaces between competing, overlapping and nested sovereign orders, under normal as well as exceptional conditions. It looks at contributions that draw on psychoanalysis, critical theory, the structuralist-functionalist anthropology of burial rituals and recent ideas of agency and materiality. The book first explains the efforts of states to contain and separate out dead bodies in particular sites. It explores the ways in which such efforts of containment are negotiated and contested in struggles between different entities that claim the dead bodies. The book then shows how entities that claim sovereignty produce effects of sovereignty by challenging and transgressing the laws regarding the legitimate use of violence and how dead bodies should be treated with dignity.

Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62
Author: Neil Macmaster

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.

Open Access (free)
Alice Mah

Introduction to Part I Alice Mah The dumping of highly toxic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in Warren County, North Carolina sparked the first national protest by African Americans against environmental racism in 1982. In a special issue entitled “Water Contamination: Citizens Respond” in Science for the Public, a left-­wing American magazine on science and technology which ran between 1969 and 1989, Geiser and Waneck (1983) published an article on “PCBs and Warren County.” The authors argued that the decision to site the PCB waste in Afton in Warren County

in Toxic truths
Open Access (free)
Thom Davies

Introduction to Part II Thom Davies Pollution surrounds us all. From the clothes we wear, to the way we travel, to our consumption choices, we are ­all – ­in highly uneven ­ways – ­creators and repositories of environmental damage. Toxicants have become increasingly ubiquitous in everyday life, and toxic potential suspends itself between absolute mundanity and perpetual threat. Yet despite the ever-­present realities of contamination and environmental damage, pollution is often very difficult to sense or witness. Hazardous substances, for example, are often

in Toxic truths