We are always interested in welcoming guest contributors. Posts might summarize current research, analyze current events, review works of art, summarize a panel discussion, criticize recent literature or news, or offer theoretical insights to waste and wasting in plain language. Note that Discard Studies is a research site that only publishes research-based work that takes a critical view of waste and wasting, meaning that research questions the premises and assumptions of waste and wasting, rather than treating those as given categories. Nearly all Discard Studies content is from a social sciences and humanities perspective, though we will consider other theoretical and methodological framings.
These are some of the most-read posts to get a sense of the blog:
- “Refusal as Research Method in Discard Studies” by Alex Zahara. Our most popular post in 2016, receiving over 14,000 views. It is a methods and ethics post written by a PhD student.
- “San Francisco’s Famous 80% Waste Diversion Rate: Anatomy of an Exemplar” by Samantha MacBride. An example of looking critically at popularly cited statistics and truisms and our top guest post.
- “LA’s Shade Balls: The ecological costs of plastics in water” by Max Liboiron. An example of a current event post.
- “Singapore is a gold mine”: Re-Orienting global trade flows of secondhand electronics by Creighton Connolly. One of our first guest posts, and it is still referenced today.
- Our most popular image collections are “Visual Culture of Food Waste Data: Theaters of Proof” and “Ocean waste: The absurdity of matter out of place”.
Guidelines for submissions
- Make sure your idea is a good fit for Discard Studies; while we define “discards” fairly broadly, we require a critical perspective rooted in research, usually (though not always) from the perspective of the social sciences and humanities. We recommend reaching out and pitching an idea before writing it up to make sure it fits. We expect that people who submit are well acquainted with the blog. We do not post reviews of businesses, business activities, or popular articles that are not based in significant research and critical analysis.
- Content for posts can include everything from more academic pieces to auto-ethnographies to photo essays to historical accounts.
- We practice a “nothing about us, without us” ethic. If an article is about Indigenous peoples, #BlackLivesMatter, low GDP countries, women, trans people, or similar, at least one contributor has to be a member of the group(s) in question. If you’re dedicated to these political topics (and we hope you are), but you’re white, male, settler, or similar, then we welcome pieces about colonialism, whiteness, and other structures of power that address, rather than reproduce, privilege in research.
- Most blog posts are 400-1200 words. We happily take longer submissions, but we may split them into a series.
- All submissions should be written for a general audience: readers include academics, waste managers, artists, and the interested public. Pieces should be written at a grade 8 level so the widest number of people with a range of first languages can read the blog. Use readability raters like Readability Score or Microsoft Word’s built-in readability feature.
- Posts must state their thesis/argument/conclusion in the first few sentences. The slow buildup characteristic of academic articles is not appropriate for a blog post. Instead, blogging is closer to the format of journalism. The stakes, problem, and/or reason someone would read the article should be stated immediately.
- Titles should state the punchline or finding, rather than just the topic (ex, “Recycling is not good for the environment” rather than “An overview of recycling”).
- Submissions require at least one image. The image(s) should not infringe copyright and be captioned and cited. That is, they should be clearly licensed as Creative Commons, public domain, be the property of the author, or there should be written permission from the image’s author that the image can be reused on Discard Studies. Images must be at least 1000 pixels on one side.
- All posts have bylines, a one-to-three sentence bio about you with a link to your personal or professional website (see examples below).
- Accepted pieces should be in Word, Pages, or Open Office with hyperlinks and images inserted in-line. At the end of the text, include yout bio with a link to your personal or professional website (if you have one). Attach the document and images to an email to Max Liboiron at mliboiron [at] mun.ca.
- Authors own their texts.
- All publications on Discard Studies are under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which means that anyone can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, but only if they give the original author credit and reference Discard Studies as the original publication site, and they do not change the text or use it for commercial gain.
- We highly recommend contacting us to pitch your idea first, as fewer than half of pitches are appropriate for Discard Studies. Successful pitches include the main argument of the post (“San Fransisco’s recycling stats are misleading because of how they count waste”), not just the topic (“recycling in San Fransisco”).
- Email our managing editor, Max Liboiron at mliboiron [at] mun.ca
Sebastian Abrahamsson is a postdoc at AISSR Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. His book, Something Happening: On the Geographies of a Mummified Body is about practices around the mummified body, such as archaeology/an excavation, radiology/body scans, museum studies/a museum exhibition, archive/X-ray plates, works of art/an art gallery.
Grace Akese is a PhD candidate at Memorial University. Her thesis is entitled, “Pricing electronic waste: Market making in the trade of electronic waste (e-waste) in Accra, Ghana.”
Mohammed Rafi Arefin is a PhD Student in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests sit at the intersection of urban geography, geographies of waste and garbage, emotional and psychoanalytic geography, and development studies
Ingrid Behrsin is a PhD candidate at UC Davis. Her dissertation attends to the material and discursive construction of waste as a renewable energy source in the European Union, and investigates the ecological, economic, and political implications of this framing in the context of waste-to-energy (WTE) production.
Creighton Connolly is a PhD student in the University of Manchester’s geography department. His dissertation is The Environmental politics of bird’s nest production in Malaysia and Indonesia’s cityscapes.
Britt Dahlberg is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Penn Arts & Sciences. Her dissertation is about Envisioning Post-Industrial Futures through Community Activism and Government Environmental Health Science.
Anne Dance is currently a ReSDA History postdoctoral fellow at Memorial University. Her research interests have led her to explore the creation, regulation, and remediation of contaminated landscapes in Canada over the past century.
Meagan Day completed her MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London (’13) and her BA in Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College (’12). She is an editor for Full Stop, an online publication of literary and cultural criticism.
Katja de Vries is a PhD student in Legal Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) within the Law and autonomic computing. Her research is focused on the collisions and interactions between legal and technological modes of thinking.
Kim DeWolff is a PhD candidate in the Communication and Science Studies program at the University of California, San Diego. She is writing her dissertation on the material problems of plastic waste in the ocean and blogging about related issues at Plasticzed.
David Boarder Giles is from the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell.
Joshua Goldstein is an Associate Professor at USC’s History and East Asian Languages and Cultures program.
Britt Halvorson, Colby College, is a cultural anthropologist who has conducted long-term research in the Midwest U.S. and in Madagascar. Her work has focused on post-colonial interactions between U.S. and African Christian churches in matters of health, healing, and medicine, including the migration of Malagasy healer-evangelists to the U.S. She is currently writing a book about a 30-year-old medical aid partnership.
Jordan Howell is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Geography & Environment at Rowan University. He examines solid waste and energy issues in North America and Hawai’i.
Vincent F. Ialentia is a PhD student at Cornell University’s Department of Anthropology. His research explores how safety assessment experts working on Finland’s radioactive waste disposal project at Olkiluoto grappled with issues of time, death, and inspiration in their professional and personal lives.
Nils Johansson is a PhD candidate at the Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management, Linköping University. His research is about urban mining and landfill mining for integrated recovery and remediation in Sweden.
Mathew Lippincott is the co-founder and Director of Production at the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS), a non-profit organization dedicated to civic science. PLOTS helps people investigate environmental concerns using DIY technologies. He is also a partner in MDML, which focuses on creating solutions for sustainable sanitation, like dry toilets and other ecological solutions to human pollution.
Josh Lepawsky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Memorial University in Canada. His research involves mapping the international trade and traffic of electronic waste and recently began working on the prospects and challenges of ‘fair’ or ‘ethical’ trade in rubbish electronics and recycling.
Samantha MacBride is an Assistant Professor at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs at the City University of New York, and has worked with discards professionally and academically, handling and thinking about them, for nearly 20 years. She is author of Recycling Reconsidered: The Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States.
Michelle Murphy is a Professor in the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, Director of the Technoscience Research Unit, and co-organizer, with Natasha Myers, of the Toronto Technoscience Salon.
Michael Oman-Reagan is completing a Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her doctoral research is on the Anthropology of Space.
Sam Pearson writes about chemical safety and security, including proposals to update the Toxic Substances Control Act and Department of Homeland Security and U.S. EPA chemical safety and security regulations for E&E Publishing, LLC
Joshua Reno is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Binghamton University. His interests share a focus on controversial modern technologies designed to solve seemingly intractable problems, from waste and climate change to disability and energy insecurity.
Elizabeth F.S. Roberts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropolgy at the University of Michigan. She is an ethnographer of science, medicine and technology
Ashwini Srinivasamohan is a Master of Environmental Science candidate at Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Her research is centered around middle class attitudes toward waste and their influence on interclass dynamics and urban governance in Chennai, India.
Yvan Schulz is a PhD candidate at Université de Neuchâtel whose research by attempts to present a complete and balanced image of the trade through the cultural, social, economic, political and ideological dimensions underlying the various ways of managing e-waste in the PRC.
Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Bard College. Based on over two years of fieldwork in the West Bank, her current book project focuses on the intersections of garbage, sewage and waste markets with the changing nature of local governance and occupation in post-Oslo Palestine.
Trang X. Ta is a lecturer in Medical Anthropology and Convenor of MA Program in Culture, Health, and Medicine at Australian National University.
Aaron Vansintjan is a MSc candidate for Renewable Resources with Environment at McGill University. His Master’s thesis focuses on the case of food banks in Canada.
Sarah Wanenchak is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her current research focuses on contentious politics and communications technology in a global context, particularly the role of emotion mediated by technology as a mobilizing force.
Alex Zahara is a PhD student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research interests include contamination and environmental justice; plastics in marine and freshwater environments; political ontologies in the Anthropocene; ethics and care in risk management; citizen engagement and environmental policy-making.