Category Archives: Death

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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Fracking, mining, murder: the killer agenda driving migration in Mexico and Central America

Why negotiate with poor Indigenous communities sitting atop valuable oil, water, wood and ore if they can be pushed off their land with hidden criminal, political and misogynistic forces?

Refugees: Humans-as-Waste?

Discard studies is about more than discarded, wasted, unsaved, and externalized objects. It also includes people.

Designing for the Future at Giant Mine

How do you communicate permanent pollution and toxicity to future generations? We held workshops with community members in Yellowknife and Dettah to make models about they would communicate the dangers of buried arsenic at the local Giant Mine into the future.

Abjection: A definition for discard studies

Abjection describes a social and psychological process by which things like garbage, sewage, corpses and rotting food elicit powerful emotional responses like horror and disgust.

Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Discard Studies

This is a call, grounded in my own speechlessness, for scholars to articulate the conditions under which the seemingly extreme cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are not anomalies, but symptoms of a wider system of values that dictate which lives are disposable and which are not, what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
It is also a call to take to the streets. As Mary Douglas has taught us, “dirt” is all about maintaining good citizenship. The failure to indict is a clear statement that no crime has been committed: police brutality is an acceptable form of citizenship. But it isn’t. It’s dirty. It’s filthy.

CFP: Corpses, Technologies, and Cultures

Open Session CFP for the Joint Meeting of Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (ESOCITE) August 20 – 23, 2014 | Buenos Aires, Argentina Corpses, Technologies, and Cultures Organizers: Philip Olson Language: English Dead human bodies occupy physical and cultural spaces in which a wide […]
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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.

Arrested Decay: The Exorcism of an American Ghost Town

Bodie, California is a ghost town. Or rather, it was a ghost town—now it is a historic park and tourist destination. It endures in a state of “arrested decay,” meaning that nothing can be newly constructed onsite, but neither are its standing buildings permitted to deteriorate any further. The state of California has suspended the town in its process of ruination, stabilizing its entropy and halting its decline. If its decay is forestalled, its grounds rigorously maintained and its aesthetic carefully cultivated, can it be called a ghost town any longer?

Ruin Memories Portfolio online

Numerous studies have focused on modernity’s destructive effect on traditional life- worlds, the desertion of villages and the ruination of rural areas. However, the fact that the modern condition also produces its own ruined materialities, its own marginalized pasts, is less spoken about. Since the 19th century, mass-production, consumerism and thus cycles of material replacement […]
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