Waste and Wastelanding: Aesthetics, Histories, Infrastructures, Politics
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"... wastelanding is not so much about the inherent value of wastelanded places as it is about the meaning—social, cultural, ecological, or juridical—that we make out of them." Traci Brynne Voyles, Wastelanding: Legacies of Uranium Mining in Navajo Country

Responding to the 2022 theme of "the scorched and scorching room" as both "a scene of devastation and one of shared, euphoric incantation," an "homage to the cultures and knowledges too often dismissed or taken," this interdisciplinary roundtable will convene a group of interlocutors exploring questions that accumulate around disposability: its logics and ideologies; its infrastructures and materialities; and ways of imagining, making, and living otherwise in relation to it. What happens if we put the (literal and/or theoretical) construction of waste at the center of U.S. American modernity? What are the histories of waste and wastelanding that shape our present? What might the futures of waste and wastelanding look like? How has waste shaped literary, visual, or other forms of artistic representation or political collectivity? What are "the terms of our engagements and relation" to waste, and how might we resist economies and ecologies of disposability? What kinds of pressure does thinking beyond waste put on other concepts? Participants will lay out brief positions, provocations, or propositions regarding the concept of waste, each rooted in particular case studies, before engaging in collective conversation around these questions.

Please send a 200-word description of your approach to this topic and a brief biographical statement to Rebecca Evans at evansr@southwestern.edu by January 24, 2022.

Current contributors: 
Rebecca Evans
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