CFP: Body Burdens, Biomonitoring, and Biocitizenship‏

Since at least the publication of *Silent Spring*, scientists,
policy-makers, and the general public has focused on pollution in the
environment as the object of regulation and control, a source of fear
and anxiety, and the subject of scientific testing. As technologies,
analytical detection limits, and eco-populist, anti-toxic movements have developed
over the decades, scrutiny has increasingly turned to the pollution in
the body, captured by the notion of a “body burden:” the presence of
industrial chemicals or radiation in the body. Body burdens become legible through
practices of biomonitoring, and sometimes through claims of

– through which life becomes the basis for making demands on the state
(Murphy 2008, Petryna 2002).

This panel seeks to bring scholars into a conversation on the history
of the concept of body burdens and the practices of biomonitoring. In
particular, how has notion of a body burden challenged or remade older
scientific, legal, and policy frameworks on pollution, encouraged new
understandings of the porosities of bodies, and altered the everyday
experience of toxic risk and ambiguity? Synthetic chemicals in bodies
raise questions about the assumed boundaries between bodies and environments,
between industrial and personal spaces, and between “matter out of
place,” “matters of course” and “matters of concern” in an environment
saturated with industrial processes. The concept of body burdens also raise
questions about the relationship between exposure and harm, the nature of
informed consent, and vulnerabilities within heterogenous populations. The
practices of biomonitoring can enable the democratization of knowledge of
environmental toxicity but also the individualization of risk –
particularly in the absence of effective state regulation of industrial
chemicals. Finally, given that all humans now carry some form of body
burden, notions of health and safety premised on acute exposures are
shifting to notions of chronic exposure, though this shift is occurring
unevenly across stakeholder groups (Kai 1994).

We are seeking 10-15 minute presentations for the American Society for
Environmental History conference in San Francisco, March 12-16th.

Topics may include:

- the history of the concept of body burdens
- Maximum Permissible Doses and No Observable Adverse Effect Levels
- competing concepts of bodily pollution
- how harm, vulnerability, and risk have been articulated in relation to body burdens
- activism and imaging around body burdens
- the legal status of interior pollution
- techniques, efforts, and failures to correlate exposure to harm
- the rise of occupational health and its relation to civilian exposure to industrial chemicals
- body burdens and the Cold War
- animal versus human body burdens
- the implications of different materialities of body burdens, such as
radiation vs. endocrine disruptors
- the role of metabolism
- humans as industrial sinks
- race, class, gender and body burdens

Please send Abstracts of 250 words and a 2-page CV to Lindsey Dillon [] *and* Max Liboiron []
by June 20th, 2013.