Whether localized or widespread, toxic contamination such as nuclear disasters and chemical spillage induces movements of humans and toxic substances. The papers in this panel will explore the notion of "community" as a process of becoming when homeliness has been unsettled by toxic contamination.
Mass toxic contamination, such as nuclear disasters, chemical spillage and industrial waste problems, induces movements of various types: migrations of population away from the contaminated site; removal of toxic materials away from human habitat; movement of toxic substances through groundwater and aerial dispersal; as well as rights and justice "movements" seeking remediation and compensation. The papers in this panel will explore the relationship between such "movements" and the notion of "community," seen as a process of becoming when homeliness have been challenged by toxic contamination.
While the assumption of community as bounded coherent collectivity has long been challenged, with some notable exceptions (Alleyne 2002), the concept of community has seldom been examined in detail. Toxic contamination unsettles our relationship with the environment and body, and provide us with an opportunity to interrogate the notion of "community" in relation to dislocation and "(be)longing" (Sökefeld 2006). Carrying poison and stigma within their body (whether in reality or perceived), how do people experience their current environment, imagine homeliness, and conjure up a community? Concurrently, how do members of the host society perceive these newcomers and mobilize the notion of "community" to reinforce its hold on their lives?
The communities discussed in this panel may include grievance communities demanding environmental remediation, diasporic communities sharing contaminated homeland, and host communities who receive such environmental refugees. We also invite papers that explore the notion of community in relation to embodiment and environment vis-à-vis the experience of toxic disasters.