What if our concepts for describing environmental violence are wrong, because they were made by the same systems that generate violence? This talk asks, what better concepts are there for understanding the relationship between settler colonialism and petrochemical-based economies of extraction and pollution? Focused on one of the oldest refineries in North America, which sits on Aanishinaabe land and mirrors the history of Canadian settler colonialism, this talks argues that better concepts and frameworks are crucial towards building more just and livable worlds against the unfolding of massing environmental violence.
Michelle Murphy is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. She is a historian and feminist science and technology studies scholars whose research concerns environmental, reproductive, and data justice. Her current research seeks to reconceptualize chemical violence towards decolonial futures on the Great Lakes. She is an urban Métis from Winnipeg living in Toronto, where she is Director of the Technoscience Research Unit. She is the author of The Economization of Life (2017), Seizing the Means of Reproduction (2012), and Sick Building Syndrome and the Politics of Uncertainty (2006), all with Duke University Press. She is co-organizer of the Toronto Technoscience Science Salon, a founding member of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, and a lead editor of the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technocience.