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Society for Social Studies of Science

Nicholas C. Mullins Award

2014 Winner, Rahul Mukherjee

Remarks by Wen-hua Kuo

The winner of 2014 Nicholas C. Mullins Award for student essay competition goes to Rahul Mukherjee, who finished his Ph.D. at  Graduate Program of Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013 and currently an assistant professor at Department of English, University of Pennsylvania.

The best way to know his winner piece "Toxic Lunch in Bhopal: Matter, Performance, and Heterogeneous Publics" is to read its first few sentences: "On 28th November, 2009, in Bhopal, a group of women colorfully adorned in saris and burquas spread out a tablecloth and lined a series of plates, cups, and glasses together, containing chemical wastes and contaminated water. They had invited a number of ministers, bureaucrats, and scientists to lunch with them. The dignitaries never arrived, but textual labels of their names were present next to the plates and the women continued to wait for them as media cameras clicked pictures…." This paper touches readers not only for the ways it lays out the complicated social and ethical consequences after Bhopal disaster; it carries moral messages that reminds us this accident is never gone or disappears from the public.

The fear to the risk, the memory for victims, and social actions (performance) last. The public is not static; it is being transformed upon these consequences. As the 30th anniversary of  Bhopal disaster approaches, we are delighted to gove this prize to this paper and congratulate Dr. Mukherjee.