Category Archives: Archives

Sonic Breakdown, Extinction and Memory

by Lina Dib Originally published in continent 6(1) CC BY 2.0 DOWNLOAD PDF ( This soundtrack features sounds of environmental as well as technological extinction. Of course, one cannot speak of extinction without first addressing a breakdown of sorts, a breakdown of what was once sustainable. Restoration ecology seeks to reverse damage brought on to ecosystems […]
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An Introduction to Hoarding

One the one hand, hoarding is framed as a response to material deprivation. On the other, it is understood to result from the excesses of the late capitalist mode of production.

Bibliography on Action-Based Research Methods

As researchers, we often want to make material and social changes through our work. Regardless of our institutional affiliations and disciplines, there are concrete ways to achieve this, many of which are not taught in traditional university methods courses.

“The Dregs of the Library”: Trashing the Occupy Wall Street Library

When our library at Occupy Wall Street was destroyed, we used our beloved books tactically, as evidence, and then used the trauma of destruction to make a case for the illegitimacy of the violence committed when the library was destroyed. How do we voice and give and hear testimony when things we care for that are discarded?

Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Sanitation on Hurricane Sandy

The following is a statement by John Doherty, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation, about the department’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

Archive Alert! Chicago Recycling Coalition

The archives of the Chicago Recycling Coalition are now cataloged and available for use. They comprise the CRC’s battles to end incineration of waste in Chicago in the 1980s, and also the long history of Chicago’s attempts to develop curbside recycling services.

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.”

Trash, debris, or neither? The Nature of Waste During Disaster

Not only do natural (and unnatural) disasters produce a lot of waste, they are also extreme but oddly quintessential events where practices, behavior, and cultures around waste and wasting, as well as their inverse–repairing, fixing, rebuilding–move to the fore. In the weeks proceeding and following the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York City and surrounding area, Discard Studies will feature a series of articles about the complexities of disaster and waste, broadly defined. This article looks at the material and emotional nature of waste during disaster.

Article Alert- The ruins of Erskine Beveridge

This is a narrative essay. It is a story; and, unusually for academic geography, the story is primary. It narrates the story of the Scottish archaeologist Erskine Beveridge and his family, as told through a prolonged encounter with the ruins of his house situated on the Hebridean island of North Uist. A discussion of ruins, archives and fieldwork runs parallel with, but always subsidiary to, the main narrative.

The Decompository at the Arnold Arboretum

Most Arboretums don’t put their dirt, waste, and decomposition on visitor maps. In July, via a workshop on Digital STS at Boston’s Arnold Arboretum, we fixed that. We created “The Decompository” for the Arboretum. The Decompository cataloged the entire, often dirty, frequently smelly, certainly decomposing urban ecology of the park could be made more apparent for visitors and researchers.