We welcome guest contributors! Those interested in submitting to Discard Studies should follow the submission process outlined below.
- All pitches must be submitted by answering the following in an email (cut and paste, please):
- In one sentence, what’s your story? (50 word limit)
- Why is it interesting or significant for non-academic readers? (100 word limit)
- How does the piece relate to the four content requirements below? (150 word limit)
- Cut and paste the above into an email, answer within the word limit, and send to email@example.com
All posts at Discard Studies must meet the following content requirements:
- Go beyond common myths and best practices of waste studies and solutionism. One of Discard Studies’ main roles is to question the premises and histories of commonly held ideas, such as individual responsibility for waste and consumer or technological solutionism to solve it. Rather than reproduce popular truisms or ideas of what is right and wrong, posts will question the status quo of where and how popular ideas, concepts, and practices originate. This is the backbone of what discard studies is, and how it differs from writing about waste in general. Discard studies is not just about waste, but about how waste and externalities (i.e. pollution, garbage, people) are produced in order to maintain a system.
- Take a critical perspective rooted in empirical research, broadly defined. By critical, we mean that pieces will be sensitive to how power relations produce a particular idea, phenomena or object of study. Pieces may use an array of methods (e.g. archival research, auto-ethnography, literature reviews, interviews) and forms of evidence (e.g. industry and government documents, photos, art) so long as they constitute research.
- Be in conversation with other discard studies authors, contexts, and ideas. Authors will be able to place interventions in the context of discard studies research. A list of texts in the field is available here.
- Nothing about us without us: If an article is about Indigenous peoples, People of Colour, #BlackLivesMatter, low GDP countries, women, trans people, or similar, contributors will be a member of the group(s) covered. If you’re dedicated to these political topics (and we hope you are!), but are white, male, settler, cis, or similar, then we welcome pieces about colonialism, whiteness, and other structures of power that address, rather than reproduce, privilege in research.
We are open to types of posts: insights into current events, musings on methods and methodologies, introductions of key ideas, interviews, photojournalism, and empirical research are all welcome.
- Full formatting details for posts will be provided upon pitch acceptance, in conversation with editors.
- Generally, posts will be between 400-1200 words.
- All pieces should for a general audience. 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.
- 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.
- Currently, we do not pay guest authors, though we are hoping to change this soon.
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. One of our most popular posts, receiving over 14,000 views in its first year. It is a methods and ethics post.
- “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.
- 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”.