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The Smell of RiskEnvironmental Disparities and Olfactory Aesthetics$
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Hsuan L. Hsu

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479807215

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479807215.001.0001

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Naturalist Smellscapes and Environmental Justice

Naturalist Smellscapes and Environmental Justice

(p.56) 2 Naturalist Smellscapes and Environmental Justice
The Smell of Risk

Hsuan L. Hsu

NYU Press

Chapter 2 traces formal and thematic connections between naturalist fiction and environmental justice narratives by analyzing their pervasive, underexamined references to smell. In representative works by Frank Norris, Ann Petry, and Helena María Viramontes, descriptions of noxious odors indicate spaces and experiences of atmospheric intoxication as characters take airborne particulates into their bodies. Thus, olfactory references—whether they take the form of extensive or offhand descriptions, and whether or not characters are fully conscious of their implications—stage the biopolitical effects of unevenly distributed atmospheric risks.

Keywords:   naturalist fiction, environmental justice, smell, noxious odors, atmospheric intoxication, airborne particulates, biopolitical effects, atmospheric risks

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