Eurograd message

Message posted on 16/01/2018

Call for papers EASST2018 session on chemicals - Chemical entanglements: exploring ontologies at the atomic level

Dear all,

Emma Cardwell and myself and other colleagues welcome paper proposals for a session on “Chemical entanglements: exploring ontologies at the atomic level” at EASST 2018, 25-28th July 2018, Lancaster University, UK.

The deadline is midnight CET on 14th February 2018.

Paper abstracts can be proposed on the following link which outlines our session theme:
We also attach the short and long abstract of the session below.

We’d be happy to chat if you have any question about the session.

All best wishes,
Claire and Emma

Chemical entanglements: exploring ontologies at the atomic level
Claire Waterton and Emma Cardwell, Lancaster University

Short abstract
This session will explore how we can meaningfully engage with the chemical in a material world. It aims to account for the political, ethical, experiential and performative in chemical entanglements,.
Abstracts are invited that explore: chemical ontologies; global metabolisms of chemical elements; chemical lives; chemical disruptions.

Long abstract
Chemicals are widely considered to be the ‘building blocks’ of material reality; the irreducible elements that make up the world. Chemists and philosophers of science, however, have long struggled with the ontological problems presented by the lively, indefinable and intrinsically mutable nature of substance, and the question as to how/if an element (a micro-entity with constant composition) can be individuated, its material structure understood, and its existence explained at all.
Despite the slipperiness of such chemical ontologies, elemental signifiers proliferate in contemporary life: we all know that climate change is an issue caused by carbon; acid rain a problem of sulphur dioxide, nutrient pollution is a nitrogen and phosphorous issue, and ozone depletion is down to compounds of carbon, fluorine and chlorine (CFCs).
In some ways, life has never been more chemical, and to be good cosmopolitical citizens in the Anthropocene, we need to pay heed to the particular scientific artefact of the chemical element and its processes. This may mean we need to think differently: chemicals encompass all processes and matter, from the smallest objects of life, to the scale of the universe. Chemicals react, bond, and form new substances in constant relation with others. Chemicals form human and non-human lifeworlds in spatially uneven and inequitable ways. In this session, we ask what thinking chemically might mean for our understanding of the world. What role do chemical ontologies play in the future of societies, and in the future of the earth?

Claire Waterton, Reader in Environment and Culture, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, LA! 4YT, 00 44 (0)1524-593322,,
Emma Cardwell, Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, LA1 4YW,, 01524594943,
Current research: SLURRY-MAX
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