CFP: Material Resistance: Waste and the Production of Environmental Knowledge

Call for Panelists for American Studies Association 2012 annual conference,
November 15-18, 2012: San Juan, Puerto Rico

PANEL: “Material Resistance: Waste and the Production of Environmental

I am organizing a panel centered around the following themes/ideas:
–       how excessive materials like waste matter can shape knowledge

–       assemblage, actor-network, and post/anti-humanist theories as
applied to studies of environment/waste/pollution

–       centering non-human objects and materials (especially non-bounded
things like fluids, decaying matter, material in the process of
transformation) in knowledge production about history, culture, and politics

–       inquiry into the ways materials like waste shape (or have yet to
adequately be considered as shaping) knowledge about nature and the

–       ethical considerations of the above topics as they impact life in
particular regions

–       critiques of science and technological advancement, progress
narratives, and modernity in light of the effects of waste material

–       studies of scientific knowledge and technological development in
relation to matters of waste

In keeping with the ASA 2012 theme “Dimensions of Empire and Resistance:
Past, Present, Future,” how might we consider waste as matter than resists?
In what ways does waste emerge as a social force that demands
reconsideration of Western notions of progress, of approaches to resources
and development, and to our frameworks for understanding everyday life?

Ideally, this panel will serve as a medium for creatively reconsidering how
waste takes on a role as cultural/social agent, reshaping knowledge,
politics, and geography in the process. From the perspective of such
difficult and evasive materials like toxic waste and trash far out of
sight, is it possible to alter the humanistic and hubristic approaches to
human advancement demanded by modernity? Further, how can such a
perspective inform knowledge-making practices in our respective fields?

I seek one to two additional panelists for a productive engagement at the
upcoming ASA 2012 conference. I am also seeking a chair/commentator.

If interested, please contact me, Susie, ASAP, no later than December 31,
2011. I hope to hear from you soon.

Susie Hatmaker
PhD Candidate
American studies, University of Minnesota