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AnthroTox: Antropology of Toxicity (Inter-Faculty Research Group)

Human-made toxic threats have become a central theme in Social Anthropology. This research group, which links the Department of Social Anthropology (SAI), the Institute for Health and Society (HELSAM), the Centre for Technology and Innovation (TIK), and the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH) approaches toxicity from various perspectives, to better understand attendant threats to human and non-human life, and to rethink our ways of knowing, writing, and doing anthropology.

Waste from coal mining in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Foto: Paul Wenzel Geissler

Toxicity: Kenyan farmer spraying insecticides against Fall Army Worm (Photo: Miriam Waltz, ANTHUSIA project)

The focus on human-made toxic threats reflects wider societal concerns with environmental destruction and loss; it also recombines fundamental anthropological concerns: from ethics and political economy to landscape and nature, food and consumption to science and technology, kinship and gender to history and temporality - to name a few. 

Our research group - working across the social science, medical and humanities faculties at UiO - combines social anthropology with perspectives as diverse as environmental history and postcolonial Science and Technology Studies (STS), inter-species ethnography and studies of resource extraction and industrial agriculture, as well as conservation and environmental activism. Our PhD students, including those of the AnthroTox convergence environment, the Anthropogenic Soils project and the AntheEM programme, work on origins, distribution, effects, monitoring and regulation of toxic substances, globally.

Our research group that links SAI, HELSAM, TIK and OSEH, brings together different regional and theoretical orientations, and engages anthropology with diverse approaches to toxicity - including history and STS, environmental humanities and political ecology, decolonial theory and toxicology itself. We meet monthly to discuss selected readings presented by the participants or by an invited author, and to share our own work and that of guest speakers. 

Two toxicologists (man and woman) working with waste in the woods Tanzania. Photo: Paul Wenzel Geissler
Toxicologists of the AnthroTox project working in Tanzania. Photo: Paul Wenzel Geissler


Published May 14, 2019 3:08 PM - Last modified Nov. 9, 2022 10:47 PM