Works-in-Progress with Melina Packer on Toxicant Masculinity

Join SJRC scholars for an open discussion of works-in-progress! This is a wonderful chance to engage with one another’s ideas, and support our own internal work.

At this session, we will hear from Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow Melina Packer on Toxicant Masculinity. Melina will offer a critical feminist historiography of toxicology, also known as “the basic science of poisons.” Drawing from ethnographic and archival research, Melina will show how U.S. toxicology’s founding fathers assumed the authority to predict and control toxicity, despite the inherent uncertainties of toxicants, in support of petrochemical industry and U.S. empire. The toxic legacies of such masculinist and militarist presumptions are palpable today, as environmental health scientists know precious little about the reproductive effects of 85,000+ actively circulating synthetic chemicals. What is more, sexualized and racialized peoples are disproportionately more burdened by toxic environmental exposures, around the globe. Applying queer feminist theory and methods, my engaged project urges contemporary toxicologists to re-situate the science of poisons in its sociopolitical context, confronting the discipline’s military-industrial history while centering the lived experiences of over-exposed communities, for both better science and environmental justice.

Dr. Melina Packer is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California–Riverside. As a scholar of queer feminist science studies, her research traverses entanglements of nature and culture, engaging political ecology and critical race theory primarily. She is currently writing a book about U.S. toxicology titled Toxic Sexual Politics: Economic Poisons and Endocrine Disruptions. Dr. Packer’s publications have appeared and are forthcoming in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Environment & Society: Advances in Research, The Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, The Washington Post, and In These Times. She may also be found hiking the California hills with her canine companion, an English Pointer named Pepper.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm

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