Waste Worlding 2024

Valerio Angeletti

University College, Dublin


Climbing the world’s highest dump, this project addresses waste accumulation by examining four literary classics set on Mount Everest.

Elizabeth Barrios

Albion College

This project examines the politics of waste and preservation in Fruta Podrida by Lina Meruane and Under The Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes.

Ayushi Dhawan

Azim Premji University

My book project “Many Lives of Obsolete Ships, Waste, Labor, and Livelihoods at Shipbreaking Yards in India (1982–2007)” is an innovative re-telling of the contemporary history of Alang, one of the largest shipbreaking yards. It is a historical and ethnographic study that examines the birth of the shipbreaking activities in Alang, Gujarat as a global business story of ingenuity and entrepreneurship of workers and shipbreakers, a struggle to earn a livelihood and enduring toxicity, and the commodification of waste in the early 1990s.

Stephanie Eccles

Concordia University

Reading early industrialist thinking of animal agricultural production reveals the farm has always been an ‘agri-plex,’ a site for producing organic compounds such as nitrogen, protein, and methane. In this project, I examine the production and value of methane derived from on-farm waste to make sense of the booming agro-energy economy, or what is otherwise known as Factory Farm Gas (FFG).

Erragab Eljanhaoui

Université Ibn Zohr

This project explores the powerful relationship that the nomads of the Great Sahara Desert had with waste in the 19th Century. The study relies on travelogues and captivity narratives written by various Westerners who visited– willingly or unwillingly– the Sahara.

Allison Estrada-Carpenter

Texas A&M University

My work examines how waste can be a luxury for the working class, initially as seen in Betty Smith’s 1943 novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but also as noted in popular culture today, especially with the rise of “treat culture” and the policing of poor and working-class groceries.

Alexa Foor

University of Oregon

This project asks what is deemed a “wasted life” in chrononormative time, reading the bodies of queer, butch, and transsexual people in Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues (1993) as living ecologies to illustrate that these bodies operate as roadmaps of survival for young trans people. I antagonize the concept of “waste” by articulating the ways that queer and trans lives are considered “wasteful” in a cisheterosexual framework.

Sage Gerson

Rhode Island School of Design

My current book-length project focuses on electrified literary imaginaries that complicate linear narratives linking electricity with progress, instead favoring transformative environmental perspectives that exceed developmental and extractive frameworks. My in-progress chapter focuses on the science fictional Africanfuturist representations of the future of electricity, as well as its costs and consequences, found in Nnedi Okorafor’s Noor and the short film Pumzi.

Zoe Goldstein


This project looks at liminal discard spaces (or heterotopic spaces which have fallen out of formal use) as sites of radical eco-social reorganization. Using an interdisciplinary lens that combines geography, literary studies, and historical analysis, I examine a range of cultural and historical artifacts spanning social movements, poetry, film and performance art that represent possibilities for re-commoning in societal and spatial sites of indeterminacy and instances of matter-out-of-place.

Jennifer Gutman

Vanderbilt University

More than great works of literature or enduring works of art, geologists of the Anthropocene imagine the detritus and technofossils embedded in Earth’s strata as the things that will testify to our experience here long after we are gone. This project frames trash as an important archive of literary study—one with the power to help us think reflexively about the worlds that we build and how we might imagine the literary task of world-building differently.

Lisa Yin Han

Pitzer College

My current project on Biofoul examines the media imaginaries behind waste remediation, particularly at the multispecies interfaces of encounter with foulness and contamination.

Minu Susan Koshy

Mar Thoma College for Women

My project attempts to explore the dynamics of Indian kitchen practices enabling the transformation of trash into treasure, thus functioning as thrift mechanisms, in order to arrive at a specifically Indian definition of ‘waste’ and ‘waste worlding’.

Arindam Nandi

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

This project attempts to critically unpack Joe Sacco’s portrayal of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in his graphic novels Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza and The Palestinian Territories. Drawing on the writings of Zygmunt Bauman, Giorgio Agamben, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Ilan Pappe, the project aims to engage with the theme of waste worlding along the axes of segregationist biopolitics and geopolitical terraforming.

Benjamin Ogrodnik

Del Mar College

My project takes the form of a comparative analysis, highlighting four activist-artistic approaches that seek to politicize air pollution in Braddock, a post-industrial steeltown in Southwestern Pennsylvania, USA. I argue that socio-environmental communication strategies based on toxic materials have the potential to unsettle classic hierarchies of aesthetics, sensation and political thought.

Ela Przybyło

Illinois State University

This project explores the tangle of gender, disability, and waste at the site of menstrual politics. I draw on my experiences with nonbinary embodiment, bleeding, endometriosis, and as a Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) Survivor to explore the waste worlds of tampon toxicity, which include various plastic and volatile organic chemicals which cause unknown and mostly unaccounted for harm to menstrual bodies as well as harm to the environment in their production and life beyond use.

Urvi Sharma

Panjab University

My project explores Nek Chand’s Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India as a case study to elucidate the multifaceted dimensions of waste worlding, examining its role in reshaping urban environments, fostering cultural representation and promoting community engagement.

Deborah Sills

Bucknell University

Waterways in rural Central Pennsylvania are polluted with feces from animal waste. This project employs molecular biology technique to identify the sources of animal waste and conducts interviews with farmers to understand their perspectives on manure management and local water quality.

Nan Song

Lancaster University

This project argues that the new materialist definition of waste tends to create the problem of distributing waste and human agency, which flattens the waste and human image and risks weakening human ecological responsibility. Situating the new-materialist reading of waste in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, this project poses a critical question, what is next after acknowledging waste’s vibrancy and agency? 

Julieann Ulin

Florida Atlantic University

“‘One more payment ’til it’s mine’: the Abandoned Car in the West of Ireland” explores the abandonment of derelict vehicles in the west of Ireland as it was represented in journalism, legislation, and environmental discourse in the 1980s and 1990s and considers how this context illuminates the environment as depicted in the contemporary literary fiction of Colin Barrett.

Austin Wadle

Bucknell University

My project aims to think and write with the bacteria capable of degrading estradiol, a pharmaceutical used in gender affirming care that can end up in waste water. Using frameworks from waste studies and feminist science studies, I hope to better understand these bacteria and advance a kinship between them and transgender people.

Contact Information
Kathi Venios, Administrative Assistant
Bucknell Humanities Center