ANT433H5S Advanced Seminar in Anthropology (SSc)

This course is offered in the Winter 2021 term. 

Topic Title: The Anthropology of Toxicity

  • Instructor: Professor Zoë H. Wool
  • Online Synchronous course 
  • Tuesdays from 1-3 pm (Eastern Standard Time) in the Winter 2021 (S) term

Painted mural against light grey brick wall of person in green hooded jacket and black gas mask with index and middle fingers pointing upward.

Course Description: Toxicity is a defining feature of contemporary life, but its effects can be hard to pin down. It is everywhere, but it is not everywhere the same. It is a source of harm to life that often derives from efforts to improve, heal, or protect lives. In this course, we take toxicity in all its contradictions as both an object and an analytic that helps us ask new questions and gain new perspectives on the materialities of social difference, the politics of evidence, the nature of health, and the nature of nature. We will trace how toxicity connects us to histories, to processes, to others positioned otherwise and elsewhere and both relies on and unsettles familiar geographies of colonialism and state sovereignty. The course draws on medical and environmental anthropology, science and technology studies, and environmental humanities to develop critical understandings of environmental justice, which we will hone through a range of assignments that explore the implications of different modes of knowing about toxicity, from infographics and maps to speculative fiction. [24S]

Pre-requisite: ANT204H5 or ANT207H5 or permission of the department. If you do not have ANT204 or ANT207, please contact the undergraduate advisor by email.