Graphic Article PhD Project Fiske

Bild: Silvia Echevarria


Oil pollution in the Amazon region of Ecuador - PhD project published as Graphic Article

The anthropologist Dr. Amelia Fiske is part of the interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine at the TUM. In her PhD project from 2011 to 2013 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Fiske dealt with the ethnographic effects of oil pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon region. Now she has created a graphic article with the help of graphic designer Jonas Fischer based on her research project. In this way, her research results will be made accessible to a broader public. In February 2020 the two of them exhibited the Graphic Article at the Humboldt Association in Quito (Ecuador).

“Toxic Inheritance” is a graphic article, produced in Spanish and English versions, that invites readers to explore the complexities of toxicity amidst life alongside decades of oil pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Based on Fiske’s ethnographic research, the story follows the cues of Ecuadorian interlocutors to trace important forms of toxicity in their lives. “Toxic Inheritance” brings anthropological work to life in an accessible, visually interesting form in order to illustrate how toxicity is not a scientific ‘given’, but rather a socio-material process that is entangled with the particulars of history, place, and political economy. With funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fiske and Fischer travelled to Ecuador to share the graphic article with interlocutors in February 2020. A month-long exhibition was held at the Humboldt Association in Quito, including an inaugural event with invited speakers and a conversation with the public about toxicity. Subsequently, the graphic article was exhibited at Amisacho in Lago Agrio, in conjunction with a workshop for community members on the use of comics in education and activism. The project provided interlocutors with a creative resource to promote their own struggles for environmental justice, while also serving to share and discuss the results of Fiske’s ethnographic fieldwork.

An article from the Ecuadorian press about the project can be found here.


Bilder: Amelia Fiske