The four articles in this “Catastrophic Asia” collection, while showcasing distinct disciplinary approaches to the subject of what anthropologist George E. Marcus (1994) might identify as “technopolitical” catastrophes, are united in the attempt to uncover the sociopolitical resonances of “manmade” damage in what we take to be regional Asia. In his book Technoscientific Imaginaries, Marcus recognizes that science is deeply political and already embedded in events. In this special section of JAS, anthropologists join with scholars in the physical and natural sciences to apply this idea to catastrophic phenomena, continuing a transdisciplinary conversation that began in April 2014 at the Catastrophic Asia Symposium at the University of Colorado. Here, I contribute to this transdisciplinary enthusiasm by sharing with readers of an Asia-focused journal my own perspectives on catastrophe as a scholar of Brazil and a cultural anthropologist interested in medical anthropology and critical science studies. Specifically, I consider how experts working on issues related to the Angra dos Reis nuclear energy plant in Brazil—the site of my current research—viewed and discussed the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown of 2011. By reading the current articles through the lens of my own research, I seek to situate catastrophe within a broader anthropological literature on environmental toxicity.

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