Toxic remains: Infrastructural failure in a Ugandan molecular biology lab

Sandra Calkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


This article complicates romances of infrastructural improvisation by describing infrastructural failures that expose researchers to hazardous chemicals in a Ugandan molecular biology lab. To meet project deadlines, to make careers and to participate in transnational collaborative projects, Ugandan biologists have to stand in for decaying or absent infrastructures with their bodies. Ugandan biologists hide such sacrifices from their international scientific partners and direct the blame elsewhere. An unclear culpability results precisely from the ways in which power works and is distributed across transnational scientific infrastructures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-728
Number of pages22
JournalSocial studies of science
Issue number5
Early online date25 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • toxicity
  • molecular biology
  • infrastructure
  • postcolonial technoscience
  • Uganda
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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