From Medici to Macho 4.0: Masculinism and Militarism in Toxicology

18 Mar 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Event Type

Melina Packer
Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Riverside

Zoom Link:

Thinking with queer feminist and critical race theories, Dr. Melina Packer historicizes the emergence and contemporary practice of toxicology, “the basic science of poisons.” Packer argues that toxicology’s mid-20th century founders managed the inherent uncertainties of synthetic toxicants by resting on their masculinist laurels—assuming the authority to define toxicity despite infinite unknowns. She further suggests that founding toxicologists curated a selective, Eurocentric history of toxins to lend credence to their modern scientific predictions, enrolling such Medieval figures as Paracelsus to rationalize “economic poisons” like pesticides and chemical weaponry. While many toxicologists today are more committed to environmental health than their predecessors, Packer cautions that toxicology’s inherent masculinism and militarism makes this science somewhat inappropriate and inadequate for environmental justice advocacy.

Dr. Melina Packer is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her queer feminist science studies scholarship traverses entanglements of naturecultures, engaging primarily with political ecology and critical race theory. Dr. Packer’s current book project, Toxic Sexual Politics: Economic Poisons and Endocrine Disruptions, offers a critical feminist historiography of U.S. toxicology. Her publications have appeared and are forthcoming in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist PhilosophyThe Berkeley Journal of Sociology, The Journal of Critical Thought and PraxisThe Washington Post, and In These Times. She may also be found hiking the California hills with her canine companion, an English Pointer named Pepper.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  CSTMS

Our Events

Other Events of Interest