Essay Archive

Touch and tech: Labor and the work of the pandemic

The pandemic has changed the meaning of both touch and tech. It has drawn a line across occupations, work processes, and industries. It is a specific moment where production is separated not into the production of services and goods, but ones that are touch-based and tech-based.


Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma

No Island is an Island: COVID Exposure, Marshall Islanders, and Imperial Productions of Race and Remoteness

Since March 2020, COVID rates have decimated Marshall Islander communities in the US, while the US nuclear testing and longstanding military presence in the Marshall Islands created the conditions for this public health ‘crisis.’ This essay explores how discourses of islands as remote and races as discrete undergird US imperial practices that produce Marshall Islanders’ health and legal vulnerabilities. The COVID pandemic both reveals and deepens uneven topographies of exposure, risk, vulnerability, and abandonment across US empire.


Emily Mitchell-Eaton

Undoing Property: Feminist Struggle in the Time of Abolition

Renewed uprising against the death-making apparatus of police and prison demands that we attend to the relationship between property and personhood, specifically to how the theft of land is facilitated by the theft of life. This essay focuses on the propertization of the gendered subject in the making of whiteness and reminds us that abolition requires the undoing of such gender-property logics.


Ananya Roy

Thank You for Your Sacrifice: How the Rush for Hydroxychloroquine Exemplifies the Need for Anti-Racism and Disability Justice in the Valuation of Pandemic Life

The saga of hydroxychloroquine illuminated how the basis for building and upholding a hyper-individualised and nationalistic common good requires the disposal and sacrifice of Black, Indigenous, brown, disabled and minoritized people.


AM Kanngieser and Zoé Samudzi

Dreams of Purity: Improved Palms, Refined Oils, and Ethical Consumption

As palm oil travels from oil, to seed, to market, this controversial substance becomes associated with moral notions of ‘purity’. We take a multi-temporal and multi-scalar approach to understanding this process: examining current and historical literatures on economic botany and lipid chemistry, we unfold the tactics by which these palms and their oils are purified, and identify how these are reproduced in current marketing trends. Purity, this reveals, is a dream. Though this dream is unattainable, it has shaped plants and their oils, human bodies, and ecosystems, all the while masking the troubling consequences of its doing so.


Alice Rudge and Véra Ehrenstein

Racialized ‘Make-Work-and-Let-Buy’ Capitalism: Working from Home and Living/Dying from Work

Focusing on industrial products that traverse various sites and spatial scales of work helps grasp not only the racialization characterizing the pandemic’s impact on working populations but also the progressive potential of new aid and solidarity initiatives.


Eray Çaylı

Decoding the Social in the Digital Dilemma

I argue that by focusing on middle class technological anxieties in the global North, "The Social Dilemma" inadvertently reinforces the spatial hegemony of technological optimism and ignores the socio-spatial contingencies through which social media and its artifacts are constructed and imagined.


Anurag Mazumdar

Teaching Science Fiction While Living It in Lebanon

What is the point of teaching dystopian science fiction when actually living something just as terrifying? Reflecting on the last year in Lebanon, this essay argues for the pedagogical power of sci fi in thinking through the country’s popular uprising, economic implosion, pandemic, and port explosion.


Nadya Sbaiti

The Settler Logics of (Outer) Space

In this essay, I position the logics of settler colonialism and the logics of space exploration dominion over both space on earth, and interplanetary space at the expense of Indigenous peoples. I then look to Indigenous conceptions of space as a potential foil to these colonial logics.


Deondre Smiles

The Katrina Effect and the Ethical Extraction of Louisiana

Katrina allowed for the ultimate greenwashing campaign for oil and gas companies to frame themselves as environmental benefactors of Louisiana’s coastal restoration program, which is funded by oil and natural gas royalties. By tying coastal restoration to the state’s fossil fuel industry, Louisiana’s precarious future is predicated on extraction, increased carbon emissions, and a secondary market of petrochemical production up and down the Mississippi River’s “Cancer Alley” for inexpensive natural gas.


Ned Randolph