In 2015, tractor manufacturer John Deere made waves for sending its dealers a letter asserting that when farmers repaired their own John Deere equipment, what they were really doing was violating US copyright law. At the time, this came as news to a lot of farmers: as a characteristically self-sufficient community, they’d always repaired their equipment on their own. How did putting a computer on a tractor change this?
Content warning: this article covers topics of colonialism and genocide in Canada. In early June of 2021 news reports emerged about the remains of Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. A couple of weeks later, 751 more children’s graves were counted at Marieval Indian Residential School […]
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The Dirt is a monthly compilation of recent publications, positions, opportunities, and calls for proposals in the field. Here is The Dirt for June, 2021.
In the 1980s, when menstruation was generally considered taboo, artist Jay Critchley made art out of discarded plastic tampon applicators washed up and collected on local beaches. With no idea what the items were used for, Critchley could not have known that his curiosity would lead to a decades-long quest to understand and improve issues surrounding menstrual product waste.
Discard Studies is a young field of research that takes systems of waste and wasting as its topic of study, including but beyond conventional notions of trash and garbage. To keep practitioners up-to-date, Discard Studies publishes The Dirt, a monthly compilation of recent publications, positions, opportunities, and calls for proposals in the field. Here is […]
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When there’s conflict, academics and teachers will often put together a reading list or syllabus to show the breadth and depth of knowledge on a topic that is catching broad public attention. These reading lists are designed to add context, nuance, and history to public discussions (e.g. The Standing Rock Syllabus (2016); The Environmental Data […]
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Modern municipal waste disposal is not limited to removal of garbage, but often involves a strategic churning out of unwanted people, and extreme events such as dump fires reflect the social precariousness of marginalised communities like those of waste-pickers.