Since discard studies doesn’t (yet!) have its own journal, conference, or department, Discard Studies publishes a regular table of contents alerts for articles, reports, and books in the field. If you are interested in becoming an editor for non-English article alerts on Discard Studies, or know of a recent article for the next article alert, please contact Max Liboiron: firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are the most recent publications for October 2016:
Anderson, W. (2016). The Art Of Cleaning And The Tragedy Of Mess. Contemporary 2.
Cleaning people hold the world together, but our labor falls short of the recognition it deserves. Without us, nations, communities, and social orders would fall into complete disrepair. The people who maintain order through maintaining cleanlinessare underpaid and undervalued. Janitors, maids, and sanitation workers ensure that the world everyone is used to gets to continue on every day. Be it people, messages, or movements: states have a tendency to dispose of what they see as unsightly. If there’s one thing many can agree on, it’s that garbage needs to be discarded. What’s incredibly distressing however, is that the same way that rubbish and filth are removed and forgotten, so too are the people who dispose of the mess. We carry ourselves away with the dust, dirt, and filth that societies seem to think magically disappears on its own every night. For this reason and more, we are martyrs.
Andersson, L. (2015).Where technology goes to die: representations of electronic waste in global television news. Environmental Communication. Advanced access: 1-15.
This article analyzes how electronic waste (e-waste) gets represented in television news stories. The main objective is to present a perspective on how a “low-frequency” emergency (i.e. a lengthy and ongoing state of environmental emergency) is presented as a newsworthy issue. Drawing on literature on televised “distant suffering,” the article engages in a multimodal text analysis of four news stories about e-waste. The findings show how on-location reports from e-waste dumping sites make use of sublime imagery in the visual representations; how e-waste dumping sites are presented as strange spaces, with no clear and comprehensible history; and finally, that the representations suggest an ambivalence and uncertainty when it comes to agency (who is responsible and what can be done?). The article ends with a discussion of the implications of this mode of representation and its effectiveness in eliciting an appropriate response to the harms caused by e-waste.
Davis, H. (2016). “Imperceptibility and Accumulation: Political Strategies of Plastic.” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, 31(2 92), 187-193.
Plastic is a seemingly ubiquitous material, one that is both all too visible and, as such, opaque. Beginning with the use of plastic for sex toys, this essay tracks some of the strange convergences between plastic, as a material, and queer theory. In particular, it follows how contemporary articulations of queerness and queer sex rest on notions of opacity. This mirrors the production of plastic and the ways in which this alienated material has influenced our lives. Given this congruence, what might be borrowed from the figure of plastic for contemporary politics and organizing? Notions of imperceptibility, proliferation, accumulation, and nonfilial progeny are each explored to advance a politics that can respond to contemporary critical theory and materiality. Imperceptibility explores the ways in which plastic influences the world without being influenced in turn. Proliferationdescribes plastic’s movement through the world and its durability.Accumulation asks for a reconsideration of political allies. Finally,nonfilial progeny offers a speculative intervention toward developing a feminist sense of responsibility for and relation to a future that is increasingly marked by loss.
Dini, R. (2016). Consumerism, Waste, and Re-Use in Twentieth-Century Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan US
This book examines manufactured waste and remaindered humans in literary critiques of capitalism by twentieth-century writers associated with the historical avant-garde and their descendants. Building on recent work in new materialism and waste studies, Rachele Dini reads waste as a process or phase amenable to interruption. From an initial exploration of waste and re-use in three Surrealist texts by Giorgio de Chirico, André Breton, and Mina Loy, Dini traces the conceptualization of waste in the writing of Samuel Beckett, Donald Barthelme, J.G. Ballard, William Gaddis, and Don DeLillo. In exploring the relationship between waste, capitalism, and literary experimentation, this book shows that the legacy of the historical avant-garde is bound up with an enduring faith in the radical potential of waste. The first study to focus specifically on waste in the twentieth-century imagination, this is a valuable contribution to the expanding field of waste studies.
Onuoha, D. (2016). Economies Of Waste: Rethinking Waste Along the Korle Lagoon. Journal for Undergraduate Studies, 6(1).
This article focuses on practices of recycling that have emerged along the Korle Lagoon in Accra, Ghana in an attempt to rethink the role of trash in the city. Many have predicted that the city’s garbage nightmare will be its doom. Much of Accra’s trash ends up along the Korle Lagoon, near Old Fadama and thus the slum is blamed for the pollution of its waters. In what follows, I first examine instances of these allegations from the present day, and then juxtapose them with archival evidence. Using the historical record, I show that the history of trash in the Korle extends earlier than the establishment of the settlement and that moreover, the pollution of the lagoon begins upstream even before it passes by the slum. Old Fadama, I argue, is not—as has been believed—the principal polluter of the Korle. Instead, using ethnographic evidence from fieldwork conducted along the lagoon, and drawing inspiration from the concepts of the biological city developed by Wolman, Girardet and Gandy, the article suggests that rather than holding Accra back, the economies of waste facilitated by the lagoon and the slum have actually rechanneled some of this refuse, thereby contributing to certain forms of city-making.
Pellow, D. (2016). “Toward a Critical Environmental Studies: Black Lives Matter as an Environmental Justice Challenge.” DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race.
In this paper I expand upon the recent use of the term “Critical Environmental Justice Studies.”This concept is meant to capture new developments in Environmental Justice (EJ) Studiesthat question assumptions and gaps in earlier work in the field. Because this direction inscholarship is still in its formative stages, I take this opportunity to offer some guidance onwhat Critical Environmental Justice (CEJ) Studies might look like and what it could mean fortheorizing the relationship between race (along with multiple additional social categories)and the environment. I do so by (1) adopting a multi-disciplinary approach that draws onseveral bodies of literature, including critical race theory, political ecology, ecofeministtheory, and anarchist theory, and (2) focusing on the case of Black Lives Matter and theproblem of state violence.
Pulido, L. (2016). “Geographies of Race and Ethnicity: Environmental Racism, Racial Capitalism, and State Sanctioned Violence.” Progress in Human Geography.
In this report I argue that environmental racism is constituent of racial capitalism. While the environmental justice movement has been a success on many levels, there is compelling evidence that it has not succeeded in actually improving the environments of vulnerable communities. One reason for this is because we are not conceptualizing the problem correctly. I build my argument by first emphasizing the centrality of the production of social difference in creating value. Second, I review how the devaluation of nonwhite bodies has been incorporated into economic processes and advocate for extending such frameworks to include pollution. And lastly, I turn to the state. If, in fact, environmental racism is constituent of racial capitalism, then this suggests that activists and researchers should view the state as a site of contestation, rather than as an ally or neutral force.
Reno, J. O. (2016). The Life and Times of Landfills. Journal of Ecological Anthropology, 18(1), 5.
American landfills are primarily understood as distinctly human and spatial creations, when in practice they are as much temporal as spatial and as much non-human as human. Based on a large landfill on the rural periphery of Detroit, this paper explores the emergent and polychronic forms of life fostered by controlled dumping. Landfill employees work with their ecological surroundings to satisfy regulatory directives and assemble ever-growing mountains of waste. The paper introduces the complex, practical negotiations that result by isolating and diagraming the distinct temporal scales at which nonhuman beings and powers aid in and disrupt the process of landfilling.
Santana, L. P. (2016). Management of radioactive waste: A review.Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 6(2), 38.
The issue of disposal of radioactive waste around the world is not solved by now and the principal reason is the lack of an efficient technologic system. The fact that radioactive waste decays of radioactivity with time are the main reasons for setting nuclear or radioactive waste apart from the other common hazardous wastes management. Radioactive waste can be classified according to the state of matter and level of radioactivity and this classification can be differently interpreted from country to country. Furthermore, microbiological procedures, plasma vitrification process, chemical precipitation, ion exchange, evaporation and reverse osmosis are strategies used for the treatment of radioactive wastes. The major challenge is to manage these radioactive substances after being used and discharged. This report brings data from the literature published worldwide from 2009 to 2014 on radioactive waste management studies and it covers production, classification and management of radioactive solid, liquid and gas waste.