The Human Cost of War – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

The Human Cost of War

Fisher Center explores the environmental impacts of “Smart Wars”

The toxicity of the modern post-war environment has a drastic effect on people, often resulting in death. Many of these deaths are the result of chemical residues that have infiltrated the water supply or food chain, a direct result of bombing, and yet these dead are not counted among the casualties of war. Stillborn and mutilated infants, whose genetic codes have been destroyed by war toxins, are also not currently considered war casualties.

Author and researcher Robert Nixon addressed these inconsistencies and discussed his challenge of the military to reconsider the definition of a war casualty in a talk titled, “What Does a War Casualty Look Like?” that was held on April 6 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus.

Nixon's exploration of the consistent underestimation of the human cost of “smart wars” was the third Fisher Center Lecture of the season.

Nixon is the Rachel Carson professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he is interested in comparative environmental studies, with a focus on environmental issues in developing societies. He has published several books, including “Dreambirds: The Natural History of a Fantasy” and “Homelands, Harlem and Hollywood: South African Culture and the World Beyond.” He is also published frequently in the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times and the Village Voice.

Founded with a $1 million gift from Emily and Richard Fisher, the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men seeks to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary gender issues.