CFP: Discarded & Queered Life: Exploring Urban Political & Queer Ecologies of Value and Exclusion

AAA 2017 “Anthropology Matters!”
American Anthropological Association Meeting
Washington, DC, November 29-December 23

Panel CFP: Discarded and Queered Life: Exploring Urban Political and Queer Ecologies of Value and Exclusion

Discard studies, queer necropolitics, environmental justice, and syndemic theories all encourage us to examine closely the ways in which health, vitality, value, and environmental space and transformation interconnect. The discarded and the disposable are codified through similar sociocultural and economic systems. These systems are informed by a dynamic and complex body-city relationship wherein “the body and its environment, rather, produce each other as forms of the hyperreal, as modes of simulation which have overtaken and transformed” (Grosz 1992:242). Indeed, queer anthropology, geography and urban studies remind us that sexuality, gender, class, race and embodiment, while seemingly removed from elements of environmental or spatial concern, are instead dialectal to our understandings of waste, discard, disposability and contamination, which have become active areas of theory in contemporary environmental anthropology.

In this panel we bring together necessary and timely discussions on spaces of liminal sexuality—spaces such as strip clubs, gay bathhouses and sex worker strolls—with spaces marked by industrial waste and environmental contamination— such as scrap metal, “leaky bodies” (Reno 2016), and toxic dirt. We consider how zones of exclusion, zero tolerance zones and other similar geospatial “exclusionary regimes” emphasize “the undeserving and the unreformable nature of deviants” (Becket and Weston 2001:44) while carving out the literal space for profitable waste. As instantiated in our laws and socio-economic practices, exclusionary spaces have historically served a broader societal role to delineate and segregate those bodies deemed sick, pathological, undesirable and, in some cases, disposable (Mbembe 2003:17). However, the papers in this panel extend the purpose of exclusionary regimes by attending to the inverted spatial logics of peri/post-industrialism wherein discarded material regains value and the bodies and subjectivities in those spaces are understood as toxic, disposable, and valueless by the nation-state. As an exploratory and engaged social science panel, we encourage panelists interested in the following areas and points of conceptual intersection:


  • Urban political ecology
  • Queer ecology and necropolitics
  • Postindustrial and late industrial space
  • Discarded objects and subjectivities
  • Waste and urban landscape


If you have any questions or would like to be considered for this panel, please send your 250 word abstracts, including a title and 3 keywords, along with your name/title/affiliation, to and by March 15.