April 4, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Why Environmental Justice Must be Served: Part II

In a past post, I described the phenomenon of the unequal environmental protection of American citizens' neighborhoods. The consequences of these discriminatory practices are very real. Many of the health issues experienced by marginalized communities can be linked to the trends I outlined in part 1.

While the institutions of racism and classism that influence environmental inequality are abstract, the correlation between marginalized social groups’ disproportionately heavy exposure to dangerous environmental factors and an increase in disease cannot be ignored. Studies that aim to measure this correlation often cross-reference race, class, and level of segregation with illness risk and mortality rates.

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April 4, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Why Environmental Justice Must be Served: Part I

Beginning in 2014, Flint, Michigan, brought public concern over environmental safety to national news headlines and living room conversations across the United States. When residents throughout Flint were affected by the failure of local and state governments to protect citizens from potentially harmful water , the disparity between the wealthy and poor communities of Flint was emphasized in this time of city-wide crisis. Critics claim that the “water crisis” developed largely undetected by government officials because the city of Flint is majority black and 40 percent below the federal poverty line. The unfortunate truth is that this interpretation of the purposeful neglect of poor communities of color is not an uncommon phenomenon. In fact, urban spaces that operate on the institutions of racism and classism contribute to environmental inequality on the neighborhood scale in multiple ways.

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February 28, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Wearable Tech has Unrealized Potential

For about a quarter of American adults, their heart rate, number of steps, and even GPS location are captured and stored by one of the market’s popular fitness trackers. These devices, often made by manufacturers like Fitbit, Garmin, and even Apple, store health data with the potential to illuminate trends in American health and fitness. This potential, however, is stunted by the limited usership of these devices.

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February 22, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Digital Illness Narratives are Political Narratives: Death Panels

Hospitals, although hubs of medical innovation and care, are inevitably the site of many Americans’ final moments. Oftentimes the death of a loved one, no matter how anticipated, can feel like a shock. To give patients and families more autonomy and a better understanding of end-of-life care and treatment options, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a provision through which physicians will be reimbursed by Medicare for conducting end-of-life consultations. In light of the recent change in administration and Trump’s repeal to the ACA, speculation and demonization that marked the political discourse before the ACA’s passage has arisen again, particularly surrounding end-of-life care. 

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February 14, 2017Comments are off for this post.

The Digital Zine Project: Constructing a Lens

The cover art of Stacy Alaimo’s Bodily Natures depicts a tattooed woman with rifle belts and a haunting stare. Her image calls out to viewers with frightening resonance alongside Alaimo’s theories about “traffic in toxins" (18). The combination of Alaimo’s thesis and the shocking “Toxic Girl” by Fawaz AlOaiwat evokes an unsettling sentiment, urging readers toward a transformation of the critical lens through which they examine social and environmental injustices. Alaimo’s theories of trans-corporeality and toxic bodies are constantly urging a shaking-up of social theory and environmental activism while painting a picture of the current state of the body/environment relationship that urges action. The world in which Alaimo constructs this argument is a world in which social and academic theory have distanced themselves from the material in a way that ultimately limits a deeper understanding of environmental justice. Alaimo’s trans-corporeal brand of environmental studies/ethics hones in on the material and the present, pulling the theories of environment and body together in one justice-pointing discourse. 

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February 10, 2017No Comments

The Digital Zine Project: Getting Started

After much consideration and unfortunate procrastination, I've decided my final research project as a senior English student will be both a theoretical and public works project. The idea came to me through reading Stacy Alaimo's Bodily Natures and thinking about my own relationship to food, particularly my devotion to veganism and ethical food. Alaimo talks about trans-corporeality as the constant communication between human bodies and their environment. She deconstructs the static biological notion of the body while maintaining that the materiality of the human body is key to understanding notions of environmental justice. 

The piece I'm producing will be in conversation with Alaimo, focusing on her theories of trans-corporeality and toxicity. The zine, whose home will be here on my own domain, will hone in on the rhetoric of ingestion as well as the biologies of digestion and how that all ties into the toxic bodies Alaimo mentions in her work. 

Be on the lookout for the first theoretical installment of this project — constructing the lens of  Bodily Natures through which I will construct my "digital zine."