Deadly Dreams – When Dreams of Progress, Health, Wellbeing and Beauty Bequeath Toxic Legacies


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Throughout modern history, human society has through scientific ingenuity sought to eradicate hunger, vermin and disease. This quest is predicated on the aesthetic and progressive dreams to improve wellbeing and living conditions, to protect and preserve homes, to make everyday lives more comfortable, convenient and to bring cleanliness, order and beauty into surroundings.

In many ways, these dreams have shaped today’s world. They are part of our thoughts, habits and spaces, our knowledge, norms, skills and expectations. 

But the pursuit of these dreams has also brought in toxic substances, materials and objects into peoples’ lives, communities, the environment and other species. Directly and indirectly, over short, longer or even transgenerational timescales these materials have left indelible toxic legacies and chemical relations. The toxic legacies and burdens are not evenly shared, but follow patterns of power, privilege, consumption and environmental care. The United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) have labeled ‘the toxic epidemic’ as one of the major global health challenges of our time affecting the life and wellbeing of present and future generations on an unprecedented and cataclysmic scale.

Toxic legacies are complex and multi-dimensional, incomprehensible, mysterious and ignorable. In this workshop we will examine the many facets of toxicities, the dreams and socio-cultural practices that brought harmful toxic substances into peoples’ lives and the environment.

We invite papers that examine such practices in different localities and in different arenas of everyday and professional life. We encourage papers that reflect on the construction of these dreams and the concomitant patterns of thought and power that brought the harmful substances into use and the implications for human health and the environment.


Deadline for submission of  paper proposals and abstracts is June 1. 2022. The paper proposal is uploaded using SurveyXact here .

Paper proposals and the preliminary title of the presentation as well as an abstract of the proposed must be accompanied by a short bio. The abstract must not exceed 600 words.

The workshop will be held on 12-14 October 2022.

We offer  workshop participation and opportunities to disseminate and discuss your work with other researchers, and a possibility to take part in a joint publication after the workshop. We also offer all accommodation costs, including meals, covered for your stay in Kristiansand at the  Radisson Blu Caledonien hotel  for the duration of the work-shop.

We will provide some support for travel expenses for early career participants, participants from low-income countries and participants without institutional affiliation and support. Please inform us in the paper proposal if travel support is necessary for your attendance.

For the scientific and research related inquiries contact Professor May-Brith Ohman Nielsen 

For more information regarding the workshop contact Elijah Doro, PhD :


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