The Anthropology of Trash
Spring 2007 – Alexx Campbell
Collecting - Dates to be determined
At some point during the semester, I will save all garbage I generate for a given period. This includes anything that I would throw out in a garbagecan or waste basket; it does not include toilet paper. I’ll then bring my trash to class.
Reusing – Dates to be determined
Choose a product that you would normally discard after using. Instead of throwing it out, save it and use it as many times as you can until it dies. Examples might be paper or plastic shopping bags, paper coffee cups, plastic water bottles, etc. Mark the date that you first reuse it and see how long it lasts. Also notice how many of them you save by using one over and over.
Other practices to be decided upon.
The Official Garbage
System - I plan to do something where I go along with garbage collectors as
they make their rounds, somewhere in the
Dumpster Diving –
In one form or another, I will go dumpster diving, preferably with others who have done it before. I will try to find something that I can actually “rescue” from the garbage and use for myself.
Week 1: Theories of Dirt, Disgust, and Separation
Introduction and Chapters 1-3, Purity and Danger. 1966, Pantheon.
Chapter 3, The Anatomy
of Disgust. 1998,
Week 2: Ignoring Trash and the Value of Waste
Towards a Sociology of the Rubbish Society”, In J. Hearn and
Edd de Coverly, et. al.
Hidden Mountain: The social avoidance of waste. 2003, International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process,” in Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in
Cultural Perspective. 1986,
“Plastic bags: Living with Rubbish” in International Journal of Cultural Studies. 2001, Vol. 4, No. 1, 5-23.
parts of Rubbish
Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value. 1979,
Week 3: A
History of Trash in
Fat of the Land: The Garbage Of
Week 4: Trash Then and Now
Week 5: Garbage Men (and Women)
Field Trip – The Official Garbage System
This American Life
Act One and Act Three (radio segments) from Episode 249: Garbage. 2003, Public Radio International. http://www.thislife.org/pages/descriptions/03/249.html
“A weeklong journal
of a sanitation worker in training” in Slate.
“Why We Love to Hate San Men”, in Bad Subjects. Issue #55, May 2001. http://bad.eserver.org/issues/2001/55/nagle.html
“Garbage Collecting: Stigmatized Work and Self-Esteem” in Roy P. Fairfield, ed., Humanizing the Workplace. 1974, Prometheus Books.
Week 6: Unofficial Garbage Workers, Part One
Field Trip – Dumpster Diving
Empire of Scrounge:
Inside the Urban Underground of Dumpster Diving, Trash Picking, and Street
Mongo: Adventures in Trash. 2004,
Week 7: Unofficial Garbage Workers, Part Two
This American Life
Act Two (radio segment) from Episode 249: Garbage. 2003, Public Radio International. http://www.thislife.org/pages/descriptions/03/249.html
The Scavengers (film). 1992, First Run/Icarus Films.
“Pockets of Peasants in Indonesian Cities: The case of scavengers” in World Development. 1991, Vol. 19, Iss. 2-3, 137-161.
Week 8: How Do Trash Systems Affect Different People Differently?
Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. 2000, Owl Books.
Susan E. Gunn and Zenaida Ostos
“Dilemmas in tackling child labour: The case of scavenger children in the Phillipines” in International Labour Review. 1992, 131(6), 629-646.
“Waste picking as a survival strategy for women in Indian cities” in Environment and Urbanization. 1994, Vol. 6, No. 2, 155-174.
Concern: solid waste management in Panajachel,
Week 9: The Politics of Pollution and Global Racism
David Naguib Pellow
Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental
Something about the international toxic waste trade
Week 10: Garbology
William Rathje and Cullen Murphy
Archaeology of Garbage. 2001,
Week 11: Recycling and Other Alternatives
“Waste Matter - The Debris of Industrial Ruins and the Disordering of the Material World” in Journal of Material Culture. 2005, 10 (3), 311-332.
William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. 2002, North Point Press.
Week 12: Something Really Awesome
To be decided.