CSC: "Toxic Risk, Corporate Negligence, Public Reckoning"

w/Merlin Chowkwanyun, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Johnson Center, Assembly Room D

As part of our Fall 2018 Colloquium Series, GMU Cultural Studies is proud to present a presentation by Merlin Chowkwanyun, Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and a member of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health. He will present his talk "Toxic Culture, Corporate Negligence, Public Reckoning."

Below is a summary of his talk.

The 20th century saw the large-scale introduction of new environmental health risks into daily American life. We are only now understanding the toll that these poisons have taken on human health and who the responsible parties were. High-stakes toxic tort litigation has unleashed once-secret documents that shed light on corporate obfuscation of risk, public relations strategies, and attacks on regulation, all of which persist in the era of climate change. This presentation will discuss the construction of ToxicDocs.org, a new dataset and website that leverages data science techniques to render this material available using novel computational techniques. It situates it against larger debates in toxic substances regulation, environmental justice, and reckoning with our poisonous legacy.

Merlin Chowkwanyun's work centers on three themes: the history of public health and health policy, racial inequality and social movements.He is working on two books: one covers post-World War II medical care and environmental health hazards, and the other explores political unrest at medical schools and neighborhood health activism during the 1960s and 1970s. With Adolph Reed, Chowkwanyun is writing an essay collection that questions the dominant theoretical assumptions and frames in disparities research (University of California Press, forthcoming). mc2028@cumc.columbia.edu.

Please join us for this engaging talk.

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