Category Archives: Human/Bodily

Consider the Vulture: An Ethical Approach to Roadkill

After riding along with Bill that day, I started wondering about the morality of turning dead deer into “zoological garbage.”[3] If how we treat the dead influences how we treat the living, then the most obvious question is whether this is a respectful way to treat the dead.

How we discovered pollution-poisoned crustaceans in the Mariana Trench

A trench amphipod, Hirondellea gigas, from the deepest place on Earth: Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench (10,890m). Alan Jamieson, Newcastle University, Author provided Alan Jamieson, Newcastle University Even animals from the deepest places on Earth have accumulated pollutants made by humans. That’s the unfortunate finding of a new study by myself with colleagues from […]
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Why it’s easier for India to get to Mars than to tackle its toilet challenge

In 2013, India became the fourth country in the world (after Russia, the United States and the European Union) and the only emerging nation to launch a Mars probe into space. But it remains part of the group of 45 developing countries with less than 50% sanitation coverage, with many citizens practising open defecation, either due to lack of access to a toilet or because of personal preference.

In Trump’s America, 72% of the population is disposable

What does that mean? As an affront to order, it means we are pollution. It means we must be aggressively ignored, ordered, or erased. We know this. This is part of why so many of us have been grieving since Wednesday.

Superbugs evolve in waste water, and could end up in our food

While the conversation on antibiotic resistance has started, one part of the story has not been highlighted. The risks to human and ecosystem health are strongly connected to poor water quality.

Toxic Symposium on Exposure, Entanglement, and Endurance: A Summary in Tweets

Toxics: A Symposium on Exposure, Entanglement, and Endurance was heralded as “the most important conversation on body burdens yet.” See the Twitter version of that conversation here.

Queering Waste Through Camp

Like queer theory, discard studies is interested in uneven remainders, things that don’t fit neatly into categories. Both concern themselves with the strange and imperfect construction of divisions that do violence to humans, cultures, and environments, while still attending to the fact that these divisions have meaning for people, that they are strategic, and that they structure our thought in ways that are almost impossible to escape.

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.

New Article! Toward a New Theory of Waste: From ‘Matter out of Place’ to Signs of Life

Josh Reno’s new article “Towards a New Theory of Waste: From ‘Matter out of Place’ to Signs of Life” is in November’s Theory, Culture and Society. In the article Reno proposes to re-orients the whole of “waste studies” by changing its object of interest, it’s operative metaphor, and the type of entities that create waste: “In this paper, I ask what it might mean for conceptions of waste, and critical theory more broadly, if we were to start from a different approach, bio-semiotics, modelled on an alternative substance, animal faeces” (2).

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.