Reassembling Rubbish

Waste and indeterminacy: a curated archive.

In August 2013 the Canadian Association of Geographer's held its annual meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland. Hosted by the Department of Geography at Memorial University, the conference provided an opportunity for me to organize a special session on waste broadly conceived. I called the session Waste and Indeterminacy in part because I was intrigued by some excellent work by Myra Hird on how we can know waste given the indeterminacy associated with it.

Potential participants responded to the following call for papers:

Waste foments a lively conversation in geography, the social sciences, engineering, and the humanities. Specific topics proliferate – plastic bags and bottles, ocean waste, shipbreaking, e-waste, (in)formal economization, household recycling, landfilling, and sewage to name only a few – but a recurrent theme in what might be called waste- or discard studies is the indeterminacy of waste. It seems impossible to definitively ascertain, calculate, or identify waste once and for all or always and everywhere. Yet, this very indeterminacy also seems to be positive in a sense: it is a potent place from which to engage fundamental questions about epistemology, ontology, ethics, and justice for example. It generates exciting theoretical and practical interventions of many different kinds inside and outside the academy. This special session seeks papers that work with waste, understood broadly, and its indeterminacy. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

What follows are the full abstracts of participants and selected videos of presenters.

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