Wastes: Histories and Futures
Waste is omnipresent. The more it surrounds and shapes the conditions of life and culture, the more urgently it solicits attention. Since the pioneering work of Mary Douglas, who understood waste as “matter out of place,” waste has been understood by a range of disciplines through ideas of materiality or the object. A set of linked terms—garbage, detritus, rubbish, and trash—have come to the fore as have analyses dominated by tools, commodities, and things. Even William Viney’s quite recent Waste: A Philosophy of Things, which considers new avenues of thought in the temporality of waste, focuses on the “thing”-ness of waste. Without excluding such approaches to the encroaching solidity of waste, this seminar approaches waste not merely as a noun but as a verb and thus as a process, a system of use, a nexus of interconnection, and a set of relations. Waste is not merely an assemblage of things to be analyzed but a set of activities and impulses. This seminar will gather thinkers across arts, architecture, humanities and social sciences to consider various rubrics of waste. Participants will take part in a series of intensive, thematic working groups culminating in a symposium and a multi-disciplinary, multi-authored open-access publication on histories and futures of waste.