I would like for the author to start with the interlocutors’ bodies, rather than their narratives (which are integrally related but are not the same). To evoke the corporeal and sensorial experience of putting one’s body in toxic water… and to do so in a way that summons a different yet complementary meaning than that of the image itself.
The caption elaborates on the project and theory but does not engage with the visual as such. Currently, the map might simply be seen as an instance of planning discourse -- but more descriptive detail would be helpful – and to see what else is going on.
Your caption mentions that decongestion solutions have moved polluting enterpises away from the center and into the peripheries of the city--what exactly are these industries that cause air pollution? And who is most vulnerable in these peripheral locations near the political borders of the city--is this a residential area?
I’m curious about what the contents of the pesticides themselves are, what you research could say about the figure applying the pesticide—is this a job that exposes the body to chemicals in a harmful way? Is this a job usually done by a specialist or simply by farmers themselves?
The author may want to add a couple of concepts to emphasize how a river is rendered into a toxic sewer stream
To draw attention to the "interactive" process, "mapping" can be used. Nevertheless, it depends on the ethnographer would like to approach to the map, as a process or as a thing.
The captionis evocative and explains the issue in a concise way. It gives the reader a sense of the residents of Flint and their experiences of living in this particular place and environment. A breif description of the presumed health effects of PFAS would clarify what is at stake with this recent discovery.
My mind is floating to paranoa. The paranoid style—a form of thinking often pushed to the margins—is part and parcel with the epistemology of the humanities and social sciences more generally. AND maybe of tireless researches like Wilma in the photo? Though some are institutionalized for questioning the truth as given, something which is clearly articulated in Jonathan Metzl’s “The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became A Black Disease,” others, such as university professors, build their careers off of this skepticism. What are the dynamics at play here? Racialized? Gendered? Nationalized? The paranoid style of thinking exists within different spectrums and exits around the world, but how are we—as a public, as a society, and as academics (aware these are not homogenous categories)—drawn toward paranoid modes of thought? I never thought of myself as a “conspiracy” theorist before, but the more I think about it, the more I think that is in some way what anthropologists are meant to practice: How is the “truth” in some ways even more mind blowing than the fiction? How do we figure out all of the moving parts? How do we take seriously the social implications/consequences of conspiracy theories in our field sites? In the archives? How do we give conspiracy theories and paranoia the in-depth analysis they deserve? Why did a paper trail end here? These questions aren’t looking for simple answers but are rather focused on what this investigation means for our larger political systems.
It seems like “paranoa” might be a good lens to think through for this photo. How a paranoid mode of thinking can actually draw out the repetitions across this mass of documents. Draw out the toxic repetitions..
I think you can reframe the caption into ethnographic writing (right now its a bit self-conscious), so that you describe Wilma, her history of engagement, and what these papers represent to her and the history of the case (and why paper not digital?) and then broadening out to your wider questions about archiving the anthropocene and its political stakes.
I think the toxicities of colonial/postcolonialism can be drawn out more in how they relate to the message you are trying to convey through the use of this image. Perhaps also elaborate more on what PM2.5 is and its effects.