Toxic Alchemy: Race and Waste in Industrial Capitalism


ACLS Fellowship Program


African & African Diaspora Studies / Women's & Gender Studies


"Toxic Alchemy" tells the story of aluminum from the perspective of workers and communities in the US and Global South who bear the burden of wastes proliferated by this extractivist industry. Aluminum is heralded as essential to modern life, but at what cost? An allegory for industrial capitalism, the production of aluminum depends upon racial and colonial logics—logics that determine who labors in aluminum's shadows, whose lifeworlds are destroyed, and who is considered disposable. Weaving together social science methods, political theory, and critical scientific evidence in the form of an experimental geopoetics, "Toxic Alchemy" illuminates the fundamental unsustainability of industrial modernity.