- E-mail: nicholas-dot-shapiro-at-anthro-dot-ox-dot-ac-dot-uk
Nick Shapiro is a 2013–2014 Doan Fellow at CHF and a doctoral candidate in medical anthropology at the University of Oxford. Beginning in November 2013, Shapiro will take up a five-year research fellowship at Goldsmiths College in London focusing on citizen science and environmental engagement.
He studies the emergency housing units referred to as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) trailers, which were used to house those displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and were found to contain high levels of formaldehyde. Shapiro uses oral histories to uncover the full gritty reality of life in the trailers, digital cartography to track their current illegal resale to every corner of the United States, and runs free chemical analysis of their potentially hazardous indoor air. He studies how the interior space of the FEMA trailers shaped and patterned the lives of those who inhabited them, by way of both architecture and biochemistry.
During his time at CHF he will be researching the origins of the “new car smell” or simply the “new smell” that has become indexical of many commodities’ value while also at times inflicting chemical harm. The new car smell was the primary idiom through which an awareness of indoor air was expressed by research participants in his study of the FEMA trailers.
Follow Shapiro at Academia.edu
Find Shapiro on Twitter @zBoratory
“Chemical Freshness, Chemical Fetish: On Toxicity and the ‘New Car Smell’”: A Brown Bag Lecture by Nick Shapiro