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Grant number: FT-229712-15

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Elena Conis
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)

The DDT Myths: American Health and Environmentalism Since the Second World War

Summer research and writing on Cultural and U.S. History, and History of Science.

The DDT Myths unearths lost histories of the chemical pesticide DDT and examines the broader cultural, social, and political functions that often-told stories about DDT have served over time. Prevailing DDT narratives persist because they reaffirm parallel narratives about post-war Americans' attitudes toward science and technology, faith in technocracy, environmental turn, and global altruism. But they also hide the fact that DDT's risks and benefits have always been negotiated and interpreted within specific intellectual and cultural frameworks. This project constructs a new narrative of DDT--analyzing DDT's history from its 1940s introduction to the American market to its position at the center of a debate about global health and Western altruism in the 2000s--in order to illuminate the dialectical relationship between health and environmentalism and show why and how a long-banned chemical persists in holding such potent symbolic value in American history.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History of Science; U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015