Category Archives: Anthropology

When Deep Time Becomes Shallow: Knowing Nuclear Waste Risk Ethnographically

When reflecting on these intertwined day-to-day, multi-decade, centurial, and multi-millennial horizons of nuclear waste risk all at the same time, a different set of sensibilities emerges. Namely, it becomes evident how relatively short-term events like unanticipated deaths, retirements of key experts, obsolescence of information storage technologies, and surprise career-changes can potentially shake nuclear waste management projects’ stabilities.

Ethnographic Refusal: A How to Guide

Refusal is a method whereby researchers and research participants together decide not to make particular information available for use within the academy. Here are some strategies for identifying and collaborating with research refusals.

An Indigenous Feminist’s take on the Ontological Turn: ‘ontology’ is just another word for colonialism

“Ontology,” “vibrant matter,” “new materialisms,” and other terms that mark the Ontological Turn in theory appear regularly in discard scholarship, almost always without reference to its precursors in Indigenous thought.

CFP: The Politics of Underground Extraction and Contamination

We invite submissions that explore some of the following questions: what different temporalities are evoked by underground extraction and contamination? How do states, corporations, communities, and scholars deal with underground contamination when potential problems will only become known and seeable at some unpredictable point in the future? How is the underground made visible through different representative practices, discourses of expertise, and novel scientific techniques? In situations of sometimes radical unknowability and uncertainty, how do parties to controversies about underground contamination stake out their positions? How is risk conceptualized, highlighted, mitigated, and dismissed?

A Review of Infrapolitics: The Social Life of Water in Mumbai

This review of Nikhil Anand’s dissertation, Infrapolitics: The Social Life of Water in Mumbai, written by Tarini Bedi, will be of interest to discard studies scholars because of the methodological approach and how it highlights the politics of infrastructure.

Article alert- Undocumented migration, use wear, and the materiality of habitual suffering in the Sonoran Desert

Jason De León and uses discards left through undocumented migration on the US/Mexico border to narrate the social, political, and geographical elements of one of the world’s largest ongoing modern-day migrations. He continues this work with a new publication in the Journal of Material Culture with the article “Undocumented migration, use wear, and the materiality of habitual suffering in the Sonoran Desert.”

Discard Studies at the American Association of Anthropologists (AAA): Nov 20-24th

What is the state of discard studies in anthropology? If you’re going to the AAA conference next week, you can see for yourself. Otherwise, the conference schedule provides an interesting overview text in and of itself:

Installation @ AAA: Urban Infrastructure: Obsolescence and Futurity Walking Tour

Crucial infrastructures in North America have begun to reach the ends of their lifespan, with malfunctions and their effects increasingly commanding public and political attention. Our installation draws on a burgeoning conversation in anthropology on infrastructure, while emphasizing its aesthetic and material dimensions alongside its practical and functional ones.

Chennai Waste, Part 1: Informally tracking the trash in Mylapore

By Ashwini Srinivasamoha. Chennai, the Indian state capital of Tamil Nadu, is the sixth most populous city in India, and is located on the southeast coast of India. One of the most severe environmental and public health issues facing Chennai is waste, and is currently managed through two refuse dumps, receiving over 5,000 tons of […]
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CFP: Body Burdens, Biomonitoring, and Biocitizenship

Since at least the publication of Silent Spring, scientists, policy-makers, and the general public has focused on pollution in the environment as the object of regulation and control, a source of fear and anxiety, and the subject of scientific testing. As technologies, analytical detection limits, and eco-populist, anti-toxic movements have developed over the decades, scrutiny […]
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