AusSTS 2021 Keynote: Prof Michelle Murphy

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AusSTS2021 keynote lecture with Prof Michelle Murphy (University of Toronto)

About this event

Please join us for the #AusSTS2021 keynote seminar with Prof Michelle Murphy, chaired by Dr Timothy Neale.

This free event is part of AusSTS 2021: Situated Practice - A multi-sited workshop. All are welcome to attend.


Pollution, Colonialism, and Re-imagining Chemicals


In communities and in universities, environmental justice projects often must mobilize scientific understandings of what chemical pollutants are and do. Yet, the technical information about what pollutants are and do is so often created by the very corporate and state actors who are most culpable for creating pollution. Based on industry produced data collected by government agencies, the ways that substances are rendered and informated fail to prevent pollution, but instead oversee a permission-to-pollute regulatory system. More than this, for Indigenous communities facing disproportionate environmental violence, pollution is an active form of settler colonialism and an expression of racial capitalism. This talk considers how we might rethink what chemical pollution is and does through epistemologies and responsibilities that better support decolonial land protection and start with the specific place-thought of the lower Great Lakes. What might a desire-based understanding of chemical pollutants look like? What core categories and concerns of environmental justice’s engagements with technoscience need to be rethought? Building from Indigenous feminisms as well as land defense around the lower Great Lakes, and with a focus on petrochemical pollution, this talk will consider how chemicals can be re-imagined with and against technoscience towards decolonial futures.

About the speaker:

Michelle Murphy is a Professor in History and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, where they are an STS scholar whose research concerns decolonial and feminist approaches to environmental, reproductive, and data justice. They are tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Science & Technology Studies and Environmental Data Justice, as well as Co-Director of the Technoscience Research Unit, which hosts an Indigenous-led Environmental Data Justice lab and is home for social justice approaches to Science and Technology Studies. She is the author of three books: Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty, Seizing the Means of Reproduction, The Economization of Life, all published by Duke University Press. She is Métis from Winnipeg from a Métis and French Canadian family.

Watch the seminar:

The seminar will be available to stream on YouTube live. Access using the live link:

Date/time: Thursday 24th June, 9:30am - 11am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time, GMT+11)

Q&A with the speaker to follow. To send questions/participate in the chat, you'll need to sign-in using a YouTube account.

The seminar will be recorded and available to watch on the SSN YouTube channel after the Livestream.

If you have any questions, please send to

With thanks to our event sponsors:

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Organiser Deakin Science and Society Network

Organiser of AusSTS 2021 Keynote: Prof Michelle Murphy

Climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss, food and water security, and global health are among some of humanity’s biggest challenges. These issues are interconnected and require social researchers and scientists to work together to develop solutions. The Deakin Science and Society Network reaches across the disciplinary divides of our universities and institutions, and the divides between research, policy and practice. We emphasise the effective communication and translation of research, as the benefits of knowledge can’t be fully realised unless information is shared widely across different audiences.


The Deakin Science and Society Network supports science-literate social research and socially-engaged science that makes an impact.

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