“This is a narrative essay, the animating purpose of which is stylistic as much as analytic. It is a story; and, unusually for academic geography, the story is primary. The essay has no deferred object; it is not ‘about’ something more academic but nor does it abrogate the work of analysis. It narrates the story of the Scottish archaeologist Erskine Beveridge and his family, as told through a prolonged encounter with the ruins of his house situated on the Hebridean island of North Uist. A discussion of ruins, archives and fieldwork runs parallel with, but always subsidiary to, the main narrative.”
An emerging theme within discard studies might loosely be grouped together by the theme of “waste as cultural heritage.” The waste we leave behind, whether nuclear or architectural, whether produced via discard or abandonment, are inherited by future generations. This waste and the way it’s been wasted, include cultural values, meanings, and practices. But so too, as “The ruins of Erskin Beveridge” shows, is the practice of un-wasting. Un-covering, un-discarding, un-abandoning– basically, re-discovering that which has been left behind (intentionally or otherwise), completes the project of waste as cultural heritage.