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When Shelter Becomes Exposure: Everyday chemical encounters and the substantiation of the surreal in late industrialism
Thursday, November 5, 2015

The formaldehyde-based resins of pressed woods are an overlooked, yet foundational, agent in the homemaking and technological dreamworlds of mid-20th century America and continue to undergird much of the comfort, security, and affordability of the modern home. I ethnographically track formaldehyde from the shale pores from which its precursor is siphoned, a mile below the earth’s surface, to abandoned homes decomposing into the rural landscape—its formaldehyde stores almost entirely sublimated into the atmosphere. This paper asks, what does the good life look like in an engineered world that subsidizes our standard of living while ever-so-slowly smothering us.

Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
Sponsor: Anthropology Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program; Office of Alumni/ae Affairs
Contact: Laura Kunreuther.
Phone: 845-758-7215

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