Musky Molecules & Multi-Species Matters

Authors: Jennifer Kitson*, Rowan University, Kevin McHugh, Arizona State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Qualitative Methods, Social Theory
Keywords: olfactory geographies, affective economy, olfactory traps, smell, sensory
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Galerie 1, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The affective economy of the musk molecule is a multi-species constellation traversing the materiality of desire. We relay the disturbing story of Western perfumery and the musk molecule taking hold of our noses, lives, emotions, and memories, endangering Asiatic musk deer, leading to the proliferation and widespread use of synthetic musk in consumer products today, which persist in bodies and environs, carrying poorly understood toxicological effects. In following the scented trail of the musk molecule, we contribute new ideas in thinking olfaction as an elemental, chemical sense.

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