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“Slow Constitution” examines the archive of John Langdon Down, exploring relationships between slowness and disability, and their interconnections to race. It introduces considerations of method and affect in the context of my embodied encounter with an inevitably racialized archive. This episode is followed by an analysis of John Langdon Down’s nomination of “Mongoloid idiocy,” for which his constitutional diagnostics make a glancing but critical turn to the chemical presence /absence of opium. Slowness becomes a material emergence of the mongoloid figure within an affected white child, and the inextricable interchange between registers of disability and race become evident. Tracing the provenance of opium in Down’s clinic, the chapter turns to China’s “own” engagements with opium and its uses for forms of sustenance and resistance. The final section engages the slow, disabled figure within US toxic economic fibrillations; the zombie plays a role in what I call “environmentalization.”

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