Published January 30, 2023
Congratulations to University at Buffalo Department of English Associate Professor Elizabeth Mazzolini! She has been awarded a University at Buffalo Humanities Institute/OVPRED Research Funding in the Arts and Humanities grant for her book project, “American Toxic,” which reframes contemporary usage of the term toxic by presenting three consequential poisoning events from recent history in the United States: interference of the tobacco industry into higher education; the Love Canal chemical dump; and the nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island. These events occurred in the late 1970s, on a socio-political cusp of shifting policies and attitudes related to the role of the government, experts and citizens in protecting public health. In a comparative rhetorical examination of the events, “American Toxic” traces roots of the current widespread use of the term toxic. In doing so, the book invigorates possible responses to harmful incursions, both social and environmental.