Pure Filth: Anthropology in a World of Waste|
Fall 2017 not offered
This course examines what the world looks like from the vantage point of its diverse waste streams. Waste is all around us. A product of everyday life, of economic activity, of regimes of bodily care and hygiene, waste is an inescapable aspect of contemporary culture and a central element in the constitution of cultural difference. Taking up classic and contemporary anthropological approaches to waste, the course asks where is "away" when we throw things away? How does the production, disposal, and management of waste contribute to the construction of social differences of race, class, and gender? Waste has also captured the imagination of contemporary artists, film-makers, journalists, activists, and humanitarians, becoming the subject of Oscar-winning films and large-scale urban reforms. The course explores case stories--from the waste pickers in Rio de Janeiro and Delhi, to Food Not Bombs activists in New York, from Environmental Justice in the U.S. South, to the Pacific garbage patch, from the sewers of 19th-century London to wastelands at the edge of empires--to animate the core concepts of discard studies: disposability, pollution, body-burdens, and externalities. Through readings, films, and independent research, students will explore and learn to critically analyze the diverse and dramatic worlds of waste.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
John Locke, THE SECOND TREATISE OF GOVERNMENT
Joshua Reno, WASTE AWAY: WORKING AND LIVING WITH A NORTH AMERICAN LANDFILL
Mary Douglas, PURITY AND DANGER
Zygmunt Bauman, WASTED LIVES
Kim Fortun, ADVOCACY AFTER BHOPAL
Warwick Anderson, EXCREMENTAL COLONIALISM
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Students will conduct weekly research assignments using a variety of methods (interviews, participant observation, visual analysis, close reading) and forms of reporting (presentations, fieldnotes, photographs, short papers). For the final paper they will expand on one of these assignments, analyzing original research materials using key course concepts and readings.
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