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EARTHSYS 135B: Waste Politics: Contesting Toxicity, Value, and Power (ANTHRO 135B, ANTHRO 235B)

Waste is increasingly central as an object and medium of political contestation in the contemporary world, from struggles over garbage, labor, and dignity in Senegal; to explosive remnants of war acting as rogue infrastructure in the Korean demilitarized zone. In response, waste has also become a productive concept in the environmental humanities and humanistic social sciences. In this course we will read a selection of foundational texts focused on waste, many of which draw on case studies from different parts of the world. The case of China will be emphasized, however, since China has emerged in the last few decades as a center not only of global industrial production, but also for processing the world¿s waste, contesting pollution, and fighting for environmental justice. By pairing key theoretical texts with texts dealing with waste-related issues in China and elsewhere, we will ultimately ask how contemporary global waste politics disrupts western understandings of waste, recycling, value, and more.
Last offered: Winter 2019
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