78. Smell ecologies: emergent categories of disability, knowledge, and solidarity
Elise Andaya, University at Albany; Eleana Kim, University of California-Irvine;
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the recognition of the smell disorders (paranosmia and anosmia) that often accompany infection, have brought new scientific and popular attention to smell as a diagnostic category, aesthetic experience, and category of suffering. Although anosmia support groups pre-date the pandemic, the sheer number of sufferers since 2020 has produced new forms of biosociality, advocacy, and grassroots knowledge around smell and olfactory disorders. Smell, we suggest, has become newly central in discussions of endangered sensory ecologies and as a site for activism and solidarity.
As anthropologists with expertise in medical anthropology and health disparities, STS, and multispecies anthropology, we invite papers that approach smell and olfaction from diverse perspectives. We seek to bring together scholarship that elucidates the multiple potentialities of smell research. Potential approaches could include: olfaction as the subject of scientific study and the scientific production of chemosensory knowledge; the emergence of smell as a diagnostic and even predictive measure of present and future health; activism around smell disorders and new forms of identity production and solidarity; alternative histories, aesthetic experimentation, and/or multispecies smellscapes; smell mapping; and, phenomenologies of smell and its relationship to knowing and 'being-in-the-world.'