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  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • published contributions
  • Malin Ah-King
  • Memo Akten
    • . He is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and expressive human-ma
    • published contributions
  • Jamie Allen
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
    • published contributions
  • Sammy Baloji
  • Subhankar Banerjee
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
    • published contributions
  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
    • published contributions
  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Paul Boshears
  • Benjamin Bratton
    • for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. Bratton is also Professor of Digital Design at the Eur
    • published contributions
  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
    • published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
    • published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
    • published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
    • published contributions
  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
    • published contributions
  • Amy Cimini
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
    • published contributions
  • Flavio D'Abramo
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
    • published contributions
  • Pietro Daniel Omodeo
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
    • published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
    • published contributions
  • Rohini Devasher
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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  • Design Earth
    • ollaborative architectural practice led by El Hadi Jazairy
    • published contributions
  • Keller Easterling
  • Anna Echterhölter
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
    • published contributions
  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Lois Epstein
    • stein is Arctic Program Director at the Wilderness Society an American land conservation non-profit. A licensed engineer, she has served on a number of federal advisory committees, including a National Academy of Sciences committee studying oil and gas regulations, and, for twelve years, a committee focusing on oil pipeline safety. Epstein holds a Master of Civil Engineering with a specialization in environme
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  • Eberhard Faust
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
    • published contributions
  • Elaine Gan
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
    • published contributions
  • Mark Graham
  • Jacques Grinevald
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
    • published contributions
  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
    • published contributions
  • Eva Hayward
  • Gabrielle Hecht
  • Gerda Heck
  • Florian Hecker
    • dio 3 as the broadcaster’s first ever live binaural broadcast. Recent major exhibitions
    • published contributions
  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
    • published contributions
  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
    • published contributions
  • Sabine Höhler
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • Nikos Katsikis
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Axel Kleidon
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
    • published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
    • published contributions
  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
    • published contributions
  • Matija Kralj
  • Kei Kreutler
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
    • published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
    • published contributions
  • Hannah Landecker
  • Brian Larkin
  • Bruno Latour
  • Manfred Laubichler
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
    • published contributions
  • Yoneda Lemma
    • ents from one fiction to another. She has exhibited her work at V4ULT, Berlin; Le Cube, Par
    • published contributions
  • Esther Leslie
    • t theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. It deals with the poetics of science, European literary and visual modern
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  • George Lewis
    • my of Arts and Letters, New York. He has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Chicago, since 1971. Lewis’s work as composer, electronic performer, installa
    • published contributions
  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Stefan Maier
  • Chowra Makaremi
  • Annapurna Mamidipudi
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
    • published contributions
  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
    • published contributions
  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
    • published contributions
  • Paul N. Edwards
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
    • published contributions
  • Huiying Ng
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
    • published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
    • published contributions
  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
    • published contributions
  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Karen Pinkus
    • w York. She is also a faculty fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Ithaca. Author of numerous publications in literary studies, Italian studies, critical theory, and environmental humanities, Pinkus is also Editor of the journal Diacritics. In her latest book, Fuel (2016), Pinkus thinks about issues crucial to climate ch
    • published contributions
  • Giulia Rispoli
  • Sophia Roosth
    • t when researchers are building new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works. She holds a PhD from the Massachuse
    • published contributions
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Rafico Ruiz
    • afico Ruiz is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. He studies the relationships between mediation and social space, particularly in the Arctic and subarctic; the cultural geographies of natural resource engagements; and
    • published contributions
  • Kim Rygiel
    • f International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on border security, migration, and citizenship in North America and Europe. She investigates how citizens and non-citizens engage in citizenship practices and challenge notions
    • published contributions
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Isabelle Saint-Saëns
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Sever
    • SEVER was developed as a speculative design project by Francesco Sebregondi, Alexey Platonov, Inna Pokazanyeva, and Ildar Iakubov during the New Normal postgraduate program at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. SEVER seeks to intervene into current Arctic debates by disturbing the landscape of the region’s possible futures
    • published contributions
  • Jens Soentgen
  • C Spencer Yeh
  • Nick Srnicek
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
    • published contributions
  • Carolyn Steel
  • Benjamin Steininger
  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
    • published contributions
  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan
    • echnology studies, and postcolonial studies, holding a special interest in the global political economy of biomedicine, with a comparative focus on the Un
    • published contributions
  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
    • published contributions
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
    • published contributions
  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
    • published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
    • published contributions
  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • published contributions
  • Ksenia Tatarchenko
    • dies Institute, Geneva University, specializing in the history of Russian science and technology. She has held positions as a visiting Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai and a post-doctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia. Most broadly, she studies questions of knowledge circulation to situate Soviet developments in the global context. She is currently writing a book on science and innovation cultures in Siberia provisionally
    • published contributions
  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
    • published contributions
  • Terre Thaemlitz
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
    • published contributions
  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
    • published contributions
  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
    • published contributions
  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Ben Vida
    • Korea, Australia ,and Europe at such institutions as the Guggenheim, New York; Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy; STUK Arts Center, Leuven
    • published contributions
  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
    • published contributions
  • Kalindi Vora
  • Jennifer Walshe
    • porary Arts, New York; DAAD Berliner Künstle
    • published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
    • published contributions
  • Elvia Wilk
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
    • published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
    • published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Sander van der Leeuw
    • ionships, and complex systems theory. He investigates the preconditions for and the practices and role of invention, sustainability, and innovation in societies. He has done
    • published contributions
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
    • published contributions
Source: Wiki Commons
Anabolic Steroids

Toxic Sexes: Perverting Pollution and Queering Hormone Disruption

What cultural nerves are triggered by the mutations of sexed biologies associated with artificially produced hormones? Evolutionary biologist and gender studies scholar Malin Ah-King and gender studies scholar Eva Hayward question the essentialist and heteronormative assumptions that frame contemporary discourses on the toxicity of endocrine disruptors.
Emerging Perspectives
The Scientific Committee on Problems in the Environment (SCOPE) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) have been diligently investigating the impact of endocrine active substances, which are known to alter reproduction and sexual morphology in organisms. The 2003 SCOPE-IUPAC report says that endocrine disruption can be expected in all animals in which hormones initiate physical change, including humans. Although the importance of low-dose exposure to endocrine disruptors for increasing human disease worldwide is contested—e.g., claims of the connection between endocrine pollution and increased infertilityBut see M. Lind and L. Lind, “Circulating Levels of Bisphenol A and Phthalates Are Related to Carotid Atherosclerosis in the Elderly,” Atherosclerosis, vol. 218, no. 1 (2011), pp. 207–13.
—and some researchers even claim that the evidence is scarce, nevertheless, references to the large body of studies on disrupted animals are mounting.E. Hood, “Are EDCs Blurring Issues of Gender?,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 119 (2005), pp. 670–77.
Among the agents culpable of endocrine disruption in ecosystems are: artificially produced hormones (steroids), which have been widely used as contraceptives for the last fifty yearsN. Langston, Toxic Bodies and the Legacy of DES. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.
; other treatments in which steroids are found, such as anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol (hydrocortisone), used as an active ingredient in organ transplant anti-rejection drugs as well as asthma inhalers; estradiol and Premarin®, which are prescribed to medicate menopause symptoms, provide birth control, and other hormonal replacement therapies; and androgens, used for muscle enhancement by athletes and during androgen deficiency. Other medicines, such as paracetamol, a very common pain-relieving medicine, also have endocrine-disrupting effects,D. M. Kristensen et al., “Intrauterine Exposure to Mild Analgesics is a Risk Factor for Development of Male Reproductive Disorders in Human and Rat,” Human Reproduction, vol. 26 (2011), pp. 235–44.
as do many artificially produced chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in plastic bottles and containers, dental materials, paper receipts and food tins. Numerous studies claim that BPA elevates rates of breast and prostate cancer, decreases sperm count, and causes reproductive problems that include early puberty as well as other neurological difficulties.H. T. Okado et al., “Direct Evidence Revealing Structural Elements Essential for the High Binding Ability of Bisphenol A to Human Estrogen-Related Receptor-γ,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 116, no. 1 (2008), pp. 32–38.
Other agents are found in softeners in plastics, flame retardants in clothing, electronic devices, synthetic fragrances, cleaning products, and phthalates in cosmetics. Further complicating issues of toxicity, researchers also warn about the cocktail effect—whereby the combined impact of multiple chemicals may add up to worse effects than each substance on its own.
"American woman's daily necessities". Source: wiki commons.

With regard to environmental pollution, problematically, these artificially produced hormones have a longer degrading time than more naturally occurring hormones. Sewage works are not built to filter used water from drugs and other endocrine disruptors.Naturvårdsverket, “Report: Avloppsreningsverkens förmåga att ta hand om läkemedelsrester och andra farliga ämnen,” Naturvårdsverke.se, February 2008, http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Documents/publikationer/620-5794-7.pdf; S. Steingraber, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment. New York: Da Capo Press, 2010.
Consequently, these substances pass through water systems and end up back in our environments.Steingraber, Living Downstream.
Although endocrine-disrupting pollution affects the whole world, it is relevant to ask which human populations are most exposed and where. Reports notify of banana plantation workers who become sterile, have increased cancer risk, and die from poisoning.L. A. Thrupp, “Sterilization of Workers from Pesticide Exposure: The Causes and Consequences of Dbcp-induced Damage in Costa Rica and Beyond,” International Journal of Health Services, vol. 21 (1991), pp. 731–57; W. Henriques, “Agrochemical Use on Banana Plantations in Latin America: Perspectives on Ecological Risk,” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, vol. 16 (1997), pp. 91–99.
Premature breast development in children may be due to exposure to agricultural pesticides.S. Ozen et al., “Effects Of Pesticides Used in Agriculture on the Development of Precocious Puberty,” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, vol. 184 (2012), pp. 4223–32.
In a report in the International Journal of Health Services, L.A. Thrupp analyzed the causes for sterilization of banana plantation workers in Costa Rica and concluded that the determinants were “dominance of short-term profit motives, and the control over information and technology by the manufacturers (who concealed early toxicological research evidence of the reproductive hazards) and by the managers of the banana producer companies.L. A. Thrupp “Sterilization of Workers from Pesticide Exposure.” (1991)
The working classes in developing countries are experiencing greater exposure to weed killers, insecticides, industrial chemicals, and medications that are banned in neighboring countries. While insecticides, such as DDT, are banned in many industrial countries, their use is continued in developing countries, and they are spread through the atmosphere. As such, endocrine disruptors disturb multiple boundaries: of sexes, generations, races, geographies, nation-states, and species.C. Roberts, Messengers of Sex: Hormones, Biomedicine and Feminism. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
This increasing threat of toxicity has, for good reason, prompted media attention. Many news outlets are reporting these frightening endocrine tales from our backyards. In an effort to foreground these issues—as we will describe in the following—media has gaslighted a Frankenstein metamorphosis that threatens sex and sexuality. Rather than addressing the many other health risks associated with toxic exposure, the most sensational and polemical issues stand in for debate and critical response. It raises the questions:
Why is sex more central than cancer, autoimmune disease, and even death? What cultural nerves (many of which are globalized), are triggered? And, for those of us with feminist concerns, how do we reorient the debate away from essentialism, sexism, and heteronormativity?
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Pollution Panic
Issuing a transex panic—and here, transex takes up Myra Hird’s articulation of “trans” as a biological emergence, a becoming multipleM. Hird, “Animal Transex,” Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 21, no. 49 (2006), pp. 35–50.
National Geographic published a spate of articles with titles such as “Female Fish Develop ‘Testes’ in Gulf Dead Zone,” “Sex-Changing Chemicals Found in Potomac River,” and “Animals’ Sexual Changes Linked to Waste, Chemicals,K. Than, “Female Fish Develop ‘Testes’ in Gulf Dead Zone,” National Geographic News, May 31, 2011, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/ 05/110531-female-fish-sex-testes-gulf-dead-zone-freshwater-environment; A. Avasthi, “Sex-Changing Chemicals Found in Potomac River.” National Geographic News, January 22, 2007, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070122-sex- change.html; J. Owen, “Animals’ Sexual Changes Linked to Waste, Chemicals,” National Geographic News, March 1, 2004, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/03/0301_040301_genderbender.html.
all of which champion the connection between pollution and the undermining of sexual differences.E. Hayward, “When Fish and Frogs Change Gender,” Independent Weekly, August 3, 2011, http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/when-fish-and-frogs-change-gender/Content? oid=2626271.
In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of pollution, these write-ups rely on sensational titles that sound more like science fiction accounts of “gonadal deformities” and “sex mutations” than serious attention to environmental issues.G. Di Chiro, “Polluted politics? Confronting Toxic Discourse, Sex Panic and Eco- Normativity,” in C. Mortimer-Sandilands and B. Erickson (eds.), Queer Ecologies, Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire, pp. 199–230. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.
And the panic spreads across species boundaries. Even more political progressive organizations,During recent years, many environmentalist NGOs have campaigned against sex-changing pollution. This raises important questions about the sexual politics of environmental movements: How is sexual normativity the basis of preservation and protection? This question requires thorough investigation.
such as Greenpeace, have warned against the effects of commonly used chemicals in
the feminization of young boys and the masculinization of girls.
Books from environmentalists are entitled: Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival? (1997), by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myer; The Feminization of Nature: Our Future at Risk, by Deborah Cadbury; and Our Toxic World (2013), by Doris Rapp. Barbara Seaman, in a book called The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth (2003), writes,
Nobody can be sure whether environmental estrogens lie behind the quadrupling of infertility rates since 1965; if the sea of estrogens in which we live explains the fact that sperm counts are half of what they were in 1940; and if, like intersex fish and mutant frogs, male humans might begin to morph into women.
For example, Rachel Carson’s now famous work on DDT—Silent Spring (1962)—has been advanced by Dr. Günter Dörner to say that DDT and other toxins continue to alter human reproductive systems.G. Dörner, Sexualhormonabhängige Gehirndifferenzierung und Sexualität. New York: Springer, 1972.
There are also examples of how DES (diethylstilbestrol), a synthetic estrogen prescribed for healthy pregnancies, has led to breast cancer, infertility, intersexuality, and other health issues in children exposed in utero.Roberts, Messengers of Sex; Langston, Toxic Bodies and the Legacy of DES.
Environmental reports also suggest a connection between endocrine disruptors and gender identity and sexuality.Hood, “Are EDCs Blurring Issues of Gender?”; T. Colborn, D. Dumanoski, and J. Peterson, Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival?—A Scientific Detective Story. London: Little, Brown, 1996.
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen) highlighted the issue in a 2011 campaign called “Save the man!,” which drew attention to the connection between endocrine disruptors and declining sperm counts, increased number of genital malformation, postponed puberty, diabetes, and obesity in humans. These calls for response reveal a central importance given to “male” bodies and a lack of concern for women’s health problems. What is unveiled here is a preoccupation with the vulnerability of masculinity, maleness, and manhood—those precious commodities of any patriarchal system. It is not to say that there isn’t a reason for action, but again, “Save the man!” occludes many more environmental and health challenges. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation campaign book states,
phthalates seem to have a special liking for very young boys’ genitals.R. Olsson, A. Froster, and M. Hedenmark, eds., “Den flamsäkra katten: om kemikaliesamhället, hälsan och miljön. Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen,” 2012.
Hence, human sex, particularly male sex, is described as under siege, endangered, and threatened.
Granulated Dog Whelks. Source: Wiki Commons.

It is true that organisms are responding to pollution in their environments.T. Colborn, F. S. Vom Saal, and A. M. Soto. “Developmental Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Wildlife and Humans,” Environmental Health Perspectives vol. 101 (1993), pp. 378–84; Langston, Toxic Bodies and the Legacy of DES.
From polar bears and alligators to frogs, mollusks, fish, and birds, hormone-altering pollutants have affected more than 200 animal species around the world. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has reviewed reports showing interrupted sexual development, thyroid system disorders, inability to breed, reduced immune response, and abnormal mating and parenting behavior in wild animals. Recent media reports call out, variously, “Researcher: Pesticide ‘Castrates’ Male Frogs,” and “Birth-Control Pills Poison Everyone?,” and scientific reports raise alarm about estrogen pollution.“Researcher: Pesticide ‘Castrates’ Male Frogs,” All Things Considered, NPR, March 7, 2010, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124422894; ““Birth-Control Pills Poison Everyone?,” WND: America’s Independent New Network, July 12, 2007, http://www.wnd.com/2007/07/42520. Scientific reports include Colborn et al., “Developmental Effects of Endocrine disrupting Chemicals in Wildlife and Humans”; J. Kjaer et al., “Leaching of Estrogenic Hormones from Manure-Treated Structured Soils,” Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 41 (2007), pp. 3911–17; and A. Bertin, P. A. Inostroza, and R. A. Quiñones. “Estrogen Pollution in a Highly Productive Ecosystem off Central-South Chile,” Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 62 (2011), pp. 1530–37.
In a review of endocrine-disrupting effects, the WWF states,
The effects on female dog whelk [a predatory sea snail] are striking, as they become masculinised and grow penises.World Wildlife Fund, “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Position Statement,” WWF Global, January 2000, http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_ publications/?4034/Endocrine-Disrupting-Chemicals-Position-Statement-2000.
Commenting on the findings of the effect of birth-control pills on trout producing “intersex” fish with both male and female features, university biology professor John Woodling says that it is
the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me.John Woodling, quoted in “Birth-Control Pills Poison Everyone?”
But again, very little attention is given to how various organisms are experiencing increased rates of disease, cancer, and loss of habitat. This returns us to the earlier problem of hyperfocusing sexual anxiety around ambiguity, variability, and changeability.
What follows is our effort to provide an alternative framework that unsettles old assumptions about sex and its transformation, while providing a less apocalyptic mode of interpreting environmental change. It is not that we are promoting pollution, but rather, we are offering ways for coming to terms with the real conditions of everyday life. Rather than reinvesting in purity politics—the hope of some environmental movements—we wonder how resilience and healing can occur in the context of transnational capitalism and its monstrously underregulated dumping and pumping of various byproducts into the air, water, and earth. As opposed to simply positioning oneself as an ideologue—the world is doomed unless we clean it all up—we offer a more pragmatic, if you will, and practical theorization for understanding the organisms we are becoming and the changing nature of the ecosystems to which we belong.
Reactive Sexing
Across manufactured landscapes, and through chemically polluted oceans, endocrine disruption presents a challenge to how we conceptualize sex. In unravelling the knots in this issue, we turn to a model of sex that emphasizes sex as a dynamic processes in which organisms have more or less “open potentials” of sex, sex-related characteristics, and behavior.M. Ah-King and S. Nylin, “Sex in an Evolutionary Perspective: Just Another Reaction Norm,” Evolutionary Biology 37 (2010), pp. 234–46.
Instead of thinking of sex as a nature-given dichotomy, or essentially discrete characteristic, sex is better understood as a responsive potential, changing over an individual’s lifetime, in interaction with environmental factors, as well as over evolutionary time.
Many species have environmental sex determination, in which temperature, pH, or social environment (dominance hierarchies, sex ratio of group, sex of potential partner) influence an individual’s sex, and sex-determination mechanisms have changed between genetic and environmental sex determination multiple times during evolution.J. E. Mank, D. E. Promislow, and J. C. Avise, “Evolution of Alternative Sex-determining Mechanisms in Teleost Fishes,” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 87 (2006), pp. 83–93; Ah-King and Nylin, “Sex in an Evolutionary Perspective.”
Furthermore, there are many species that sex change regularly as part of their life histories, such as shrimps, ringed worms, echinoderms, mollusks, and some fish.P. L. Munday, P. M. Buston, and R. R. Warner, “Diversity and Flexibility of Sex-change Strategies in Animals,” Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol. 21 (2006), pp. 89–95.
Sex change may be induced at a certain body size or age, or in response to social conditions. The timing of the sex change often appears to be an adaptive response to an individual’s social and ecological environment.Munday et al., “Diversity and Flexibility of Sex-change Strategies in Animals.”
Genes for sexual characteristics are carried by both sexes, regulated by hormones, and, therefore, characteristics of both sexes are within the “potential” of most individuals; that is to say that sex changing, intersexuality, and expressing characteristics of both sexes is, for many organisms, part of their species potential.
Potential: to become. Capacity: is directed toward an elsewhere, an unknown future (even if that future is un-becoming). Latin potentialis: from potentia, “power,” from potens, “being able.” Potential is an expressive unit, force, and excitation through which organisms, bodies, and environments become themselves and more. Organisms are creative responses, improvisations with and through their capacity to become with their environments (but always through the refrain of their sensoria—their ability to sense and perceive their environments and those that inhabit it).E. Hayward, “FingeryEyes: Impressions of Cup Corals,” Cultural Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 4 (2010), pp. 577–99.
Sex potential is just that, an opening out, a responsiveness that is ontologically more dynamic than static. While some organisms have a narrow regular range of sex possibilities—their potential is more delimited—the effects of endocrine disruption provide a reworking of even these limits. In other words, while some species of fish more easily shift from female to male as an environmental response to pollution, other species, such as polar bears, shift with more trouble. And yet, hormonal disruption assures changes across borders of sexes.
Crested Newt—Triton or Molge cristatus. M, the male with a scolloped dorsal median fin; F, the female without a crest. Source: Wiki Commons

Considering that all animal life shares an evolutionary past, many of us also share hormonal vulnerabilities. Hormone levels change over an individual’s lifetime and are affected by lifestyle (stress, physical activity) and exogenous hormones.Roberts, Messengers of Sex.
Even natural plant substances like phytoestrogens interact with the endocrine systems of various animals.H. Adlercreutz, “Phyto-oestrogens and cancer,” Lancet Oncology, vol. 3 (2002), pp. 364–73.
Our material culture—as expressed by what objects we encircle ourselves with, the food we eat, the water we drink, the hormones we and our food industries gush into our surroundings, the air we breathe, the perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and lotions we use, the ways we use our bodies—all becomes part of the process of sexing. Hence, meshing our discussion of hormone disruption with our ontological view of sex as a dynamic processSee Ah-King’s 2010 article with Nylin, “Sex in an Evolutionary Perspective.”
proffers an interpretation of sex that enfolds toxification into the provocations of sexing. In this way, emerging transsex characteristics and “symptoms” can be understood as potentials rather than iterations of sexual difference. In this approach, we resonate with Bailey Kier’s perspective on “shared interdependent transsex,” by which he attends to the ecologically constitutive nature of bodies: he refers to “bodies” as constant processes, relations, adaptations, and metabolisms, engaged in varying degrees of (re)productive and economic relations with multiple other “‘bodies’, substances and things.B. Kier, Interdependent Ecological Transsex: Notes on Re/production, ‘Transgender’ Fish, and the Management of Populations, Species, and Resources,” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, vol. 20, no. 3 (2010), pp. 299–319.
In alliance with our project here, Kier’s entanglement works to decenter normative assumptions about embodiment, futurity, and nature.
Human sex is responsive rather than recalcitrant to the bumptious forces of bio-industrial-chemical advances. Toxified and polluted, sexual assignments are reshaped and morphological specificity is undone.M. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham, BC: Duke University Press, 2012.
Sexual differentiations are still at play, but their familiar parameters and orderings become ambiguous and uncanny; alterity between the sexes, however imagined, is unanchored. Already, sexual life as we know it is dissolving in kinds; through the unwilled transformation of toxicity and biochemical materiality, the call-and-response formation of bodies and their relations has redynamized corporeality. In this way, the supremacy bestowed to sexual difference—its ontological forceThe history of medical research on hormones, endocrinology, is permeated by conceptions of natural binomial sex differences and the naturalness of heterosexuality (see N. Oudshoorn, Beyond the Natural Body: An Archaeology of Sex Hormones. New York: Routledge, 1994; A. Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books, 2000; and Roberts, Messengers of Sex). These heteronormative conceptions of the relationships between sex and hormones are carried on in discussions of endocrine disruption today (Roberts, Messengers of Sex).
—is outpaced not only by social or political movements but also by metabolizing pollutants, xenotransplanting toxicants, and intravenous banes.
Resilience Potentials
At the start of the twenty-first century, we are swamped globally by endocrine disruptors that unsettle and disarrange environments—the milieus and territories through which species emerge with each other. Species “become withDonna Haraway in When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008) troubles Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s now famous “becoming animal,” with an attention to the phenomenology of prepositions. Proffering “becoming with,” Haraway brings into focus Deleuze and Guattari’s attention to intensity and multiplicity, while attending to the material conditions of contact, encounter, and immediacy. The preposition “with,” here, is an ethical domain; meetings are built through obligations, indebtedness, and responsibility. Haraway writes, “We are all responsible to and for shaping conditions for multispecies flourishing in the face of terrible histories.” “Becoming with,” then, is a threshold of emergence that attends to ways in which the expressiveness of encounters envelops bodies, exchanging elements and particles of one another such that the members of the involvement become more and different.
in principle: become with habitats, resources, associations, and involvements. In this way, endocrine disruption is an unavoidable copresence in the liveliness of organisms. It remains crucial to politically resist the continued leaching, dumping, and producing agents of hormonal disruption, but equally important is to take stock of the conditions of the present. We live within unruly effluvia and wayward discharges that promise to affect sexual, cognitive, and corporeal existence. For now, we are over our heads. The questions are: Can we engender environmental responsibility without invoking anxiety that our most intimate reproductive environments have been infiltrated by an industrial world? How do we begin to think freshly and innovatively about environmentally induced sex and body changes without reinscribing gendered biases, sexual fears, and old prejudices?
How can we discuss the effects of endocrine disruptors seriously, without retelling heteronormative understandings of sexed biologies?
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As M. Ah-King and S. Nylin demonstrate, seeing sex as a reaction norm, a potential, opens up new ways of perceiving environmental sex change as a part of a developmental process, whether it occurs in species that regularly sex change or don’t.Ah-King and Nylin, “Sex in an Evolutionary Perspective.”
That hormones are a part of our sexing process throughout life means that there is potential for arbitration and regeneration. There is no need for sex panics. Seeing sexing as an ongoing process also means that there is potential for healing and restoring. Some stages in organismal development are more vulnerable than others; some incur nonreversible changes in the physiology. Others are short-term and reversible. We know that the endocrine-disrupting substances in plastic softeners are discharged from the body relatively quickly, while substances like DDT and PCB may be stored in fat tissue for decades. The DES prescribed to pregnant mothers still affects descendants after three generations. Temporality, here, is part of organisms’ sex potentials. That is to say, sex is longitudinal and ongoing; time (within a toxic context) is part of sexing, part of its unfolding (potential) nature.
Reinvigorating the promise of transgender and queer politics, sexual difference, an engine of difference, is wrenched and retooled by toxicity and pollution, propagating variability rather than difference as usual. Neither utopic nor dystopic, toxic sex opens the realization that bodies are lively and rejoinders to environments and changing ecosystems, even when those same engines of change provide exposure to carcinogens, neurotoxins, asthmagens, and mutagens.
"Seeing the beauty in the wounds and taking responsibility to care for the world as it is” is what we aim for here.C. Mortimer-Sandilands, “Unnatural Passions? Notes towards a Queer Ecology," Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture, vol. 9 (2005), http://hdl.handle.net/1802/3756.
We—human and nonhuman—are living in a time of intensified exposure to toxicity where life requires reinvention (if it can) or risks extinction and disease. Things can get worse, and probably will, but life is already dire for many. We are entwined through our descent (and, possibly, our extinction), but also through our coexistence in shared environments. Nonhumans and humans are vulnerable, but also exuberant, adaptable, resilient, and constantly changing in interaction with environments. We are living in environmental catastrophe. Certainly some organisms will survive; perhaps only humans will not.
In an effort to critique the medial focus on threats to “natural” and normative sex and sexuality, this essay proffers a critical perspective for understanding environmentally induced sex changes, and encourages a counter-discourse that rethinks our purity and “chemical free” ideas so as to simultaneously comprehend threat, resilience, and potential. Embodiment, which includes sex, is a process of becoming with these altered environments. Whatever futures await us, we are the future organisms that we are becoming.
This essay is a shortened and slightly edited version of the original essay, published in O-Zone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies, Issue 1: Object/Ecology (2013).