Uncontained Toxicity: The Dialectics of Loss and Control

Due Date: 09-30-2021

We welcome submissions for the edited volume Uncontained Toxicity: The Dialectics of Loss and Control. Toxicity creates a double-bind. On the one hand, it poses the threat of contamination; its danger lies in its ability to cross borders in cases of undesired industrial spills, the overuse of pesticides and herbicides in corporative agrobusiness, or assassination attempts (Navalny). On the other hand, precisely this ability makes it necessary to create containment that isolates as well as protects the environment from toxicity.

Toxicity is here understood as a posthuman agent and dynamic that has influence on communication, politics, social environments, individual and public health as well as aesthetics and technology. Furthermore, the volume looks at how toxicity engages with its environment (and not merely how toxicity is represented or what it represents). It departs from the premise that toxicity is not simply a chemical agent (it might be) but rather an evolving force that can also manifest as social interactions (“toxic relationship”), historical (the “toxic legacies of colonialism”), narratively (“toxic semiotics”), or subversive propaganda.

Possible topics of exploration include

● Art disruption and showcase of the ecological crisis
● Obsolete technologies or aesthetics
● Political climate and toxic disturbances
● Toxic reactions against human exemplarity
● Scenarios of pollution (landscapes, soundscapes, riskspaces, etc.)
● Social or aesthetic impacts of contamination
● Breathing toxins (atmospheric sites and repositories)
● Temporalities and interconnections through toxic efficiency
● Images of toxicity (nonlinear, nonfigurative unsettling flows)
● Technologies of (toxic) distribution
● Media and transgression (sound, smell, social media, senses)
● Viruses and immunity (isolation and sites of respiration)

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by 30 September 2021 to Gisela Heffes ( and Arndt Niebisch (

Abstracts should be accompanied by a short bio of approximately 150 words. Notification of acceptance will be given by mid-October. Completed essays (written in English) will be expected by 1 April 2022.