Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Article! The Politics of Open Defecation

This paper examines the politics of open defecation by focusing on everyday intersections of the body and infrastructure in the metabolic city, which produces profoundly unequal opportunities for fulfilling bodily needs. Specifically, it examines how open defecation emerges in Mumbai’s informal settlements through everyday embodied experiences, practices and perceptions forged in relation to the materialities of informality and infrastructure.

Why “Discard Studies”? Why not “Waste Studies”?

Why call this sub-genre of research into waste “discard studies?” Why not call it “waste studies?” This is a question that comes up a lot. It’s a question Robin Nagle, who coined the term, and I have spoken about at length.

CFP: Resourceful Communities & Wastefulness

This call for papers for the Ontario Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAGONT) at York University, Toronto seeks to investigate how communities manage to promote resourcefulness and reduce wastefulness.

Introducing the Discard Studies Compendium, phase one

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Discard Studies Compendium, a list of critical key terms. It is critical in the sense that it comes out of methods in the humanities and social sciences that contextualize the problems and systems that are not readily apparent to the invested but casual observer.

A Taxonomy of Unformed Objects

What is it about our present—what forces, what infrastructures of global capital, conditions of planetary climate change, non-innocent affective economics—that provokes so many scholars to find the unformed phenomena, the phenomena open to change and already altered, everywhere?

Public Service Announcements for Trash Foragers

Picking up discarded items from the curb can be tricky, even in a city as practiced as New York. Who wants to risk hauling a TV down three blocks and up four flights of stairs to find out it doesn’t work? Or what if that nice side table has bedbugs? Luckily, artist Sarah Nicole Phillips […]
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Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life

The Wellcome Collection in London, part of the Wellcome Trust, opens an exhibit this Thursday, March 24, that explores changing attitudes toward dirt and cleanliness from the seventeenth century to the mid-21st. The show is built around specific examples in six different places — Delft, London, Glasgow, Dresden, New Delhi, and New York. It runs […]
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The Nature/Culture/Society Interface

Today I came across a phrase that arrested the flow of my otherwise typical Thursday. A new PhD program in Germany called “Environment and Society” (more details here), a collaboration between Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität-München and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, describes how its interdisciplinary focus will allow students to explore questions related to “the […]
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CFP: Dirt

We are seeking contribution from all disciplines to an American Studies essay collection on DIRT. Dirt is among the most material but also the most metaphorical and expressive of substances. This collection hopes to bring together essays that explore how people imagine, define, and employ the various concepts and realities of dirt. What does it […]
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“A discard in the fountain” by Eric Friedman

Here is a post on Journal Square by Eric Friedman. He illustrates how places can become discards. Eric focuses on the phenomenology of place in his ongoing ethnography of Jersey City’s central square.