The Smell of Risk: Environmental Disparities and Olfactory Aesthetics by Hsuan L. Hsu

Publisher’s presentation :

Our sense of smell is a uniquely visceral—and personal—form of experience. As Hsuan L. Hsu points out, smell has long been spurned by Western aesthetics as a lesser sense for its qualities of subjectivity, volatility, and materiality. But it is these very qualities that make olfaction a vital tool for sensing and staging environmental risk and inequality. Unlike the other senses, smell extends across space and reaches into our bodies. Hsu traces how writers, artists, and activists have deployed these embodied, biochemical qualities of smell in their efforts to critique and reshape modernity’s olfactory disparities.

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