Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Julia Huggins

Modern Culture & Media


Julia Huggins' current project, Atmospheres of Precision: Forensic Dust and its Afterlives investigates the material and epistemological status of dust at the intersections of media, forensic sciences, and law. Julia works to trace the role of dust as it drifts between 19th century methods of crime scene investigation, 20th century Dada and surrealist art, toxic waste sites, and more recent ‘smartdust’ technology. This project analyzes the implications of dust’s many lives: as an object of microscopic vision and scientific knowledge, a marker of industrial time and its entropic dissolution, a problem of contamination to be solved by ‘greener’ industry and ‘smarter’ appliances, and a new frontier for militarizing the air. Environmental concerns shape her approach at every turn, though most specifically in Huggins' examination of scientific and poetic conceptions of ‘atmosphere’ in discourses around toxicity (especially borderland sites) and militarized aerotechnologies.