Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity by Mimi Sheller

By Mimi Sheller

Aluminum formed the 20th century. It enabled high-speed commute and gravity-defying flight. It was once the fabric of a streamlined aesthetic that got here to symbolize modernity. And it grew to become a vital component in business and family items that ranged from airplanes and automobiles to fashion designer chairs and synthetic Christmas bushes. It entered smooth houses as packaging, foil, pots and pans or even infiltrated bodies via foodstuff, medication, and cosmetics. In Aluminum Dreams, Mimi Sheller describes how the materiality and which means of aluminum remodeled sleek lifestyles and keeps to form the realm at the present time.

Aluminum, Sheller tells us, replaced mobility and mobilized glossy lifestyles. It enabled air strength, the distance age and moon landings. but, as Sheller makes transparent, aluminum was once vital not just in twentieth-century know-how, innovation, structure, and layout but additionally in underpinning international army energy, asymmetric improvement, and the most important environmental and well-being issues. Sheller describes aluminum's glossy utopia but in addition its darkish facet. The unintentional effects of aluminum's frequent use comprise struggles for sovereignty and source keep an eye on in Africa, India, and the Caribbean; the unleashing of establishment firms; and the pollutants of the earth via mining and smelting (and the conflict to save lots of it). utilizing a unmarried fabric as an access aspect to figuring out an international heritage of modernization and its implications for the long run, Aluminum goals forces us to invite: How will we gather the fabric tradition of modernity and what are its environmental effects?

Aluminum Dreams encompasses a beneficiant collection of notable photographs of iconic aluminum designs, many in colour, drawn from ads by means of Alcoa, Bohn, Kaiser, and different significant firms, pamphlets, movies, and exhibitions.

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Extra resources for Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity

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Electricity would provide the key for unlocking the powers of chemical energy that could release aluminum into the world, along with new capacities for speed, lightness, and imagination of the technology of the future. 2), and a twenty-three-year-old Frenchman, Paul Louis Toussaint Héroult.  . 13 At Oberlin College, in Ohio, in 1880, the sixteen-year-old Charles Martin Hall, sixth child of a Congregational missionary, enrolled in the chemistry course of Professor Frank Fanning Jewett, who had studied with Wöhler in Germany.

United States v. Alcoa For most of the twentieth century Alcoa controlled the largest share of the world bauxite, alumina, and aluminum markets, raising questions about the power of big business, the legality of cartels, and the power of government to break up monopolies. 41 But forces of global economic restructuring were already in play. The breakup of the Soviet Union and subsequent privatization of its state-owned industries in the 1990s had a large impact on mining and metals markets. This global restructuring has now been joined by huge forces of growth in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC), which has spurred demand for aluminum, especially in the construction sector in China, and with it for energy to drive the smelters.

In many countries the industry has been able to externalize environmental costs, leaving the cleanup to future generations. In relation to mining operations, something like the US superfund program to clean up toxic waste and heavily polluted areas left across the country by former industries could perhaps be implemented internationally to assess and address the effects of bauxite mining, alumina plants, and hydropower dams. Yet even within the United States the actual cleanup of superfund sites has been painfully slow and often simply unachievable.

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