Earthly Poison

Earthly Poison

The Cockpit and Centre for Research Architecture, London
24-25 May 2013

1972. Bangladesh is a new state emerging out of a national liberation war and a cyclone. Inspired by the Green Revolution, UNICEF undertook a major public health engineering project, drilling millions of hand pumps aimed at providing safe drinking water, and over subsequent years sinking private tube wells became normative practice. Although considered a major humanitarian success, it exposed a significant part of the population to ground water aquifers rich in arsenic.

Several decades on, the slow environmental violence continues to unfold at a population level in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. The same state and humanitarian players implicated in its complex causality are now charged with the responsibility of dealing with its consequences. An earthly poison unleashed with a violent forensic history. The two-day seminar is organized by Nabil Ahmed and the Centre for Research Architecture/Forensic Architecture, in collaboration with The Showroom, bringing together leading STS scholars, lawyers, geologists, historians and philosophers. It aims to address contemporary debates around large-scale arsenic poisoning in the Bengal delta, and its implications for new forms of spatial activism and law in the global South.

Nabil Ahmed, Introduction
Howard Caygill, "Pharmakon" / Respondent: James Burton
Nabil Ahmed, Introduction, day 2 /  John McArthur
Shubhaa Srinivasan
Andrew Meharg, "Elemental Poison" / Respondent: Godofredo Perreira
Sheila Jasanoff / Respondent: Eyal Weizman
Peter Atkins
Adrian Lahoud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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