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Special Collection

Waste: Disposability, Decay, and Depletion

Collection launched: 17 Apr 2019

Waste, whether municipal, hazardous, biomedical, or contaminate, is receiving increasing attention both academically and politically. A drive for improved education around waste management is visible at national and community levels, while the media is brimfull of reports that shed light onto the complex global challenges of pollution, toxicity, and ongoing environmental damage. ‘Disposable populations’ also frequent the news, with anti-refugee, anti-immigration, and anti-globalization sentiments increasingly visible across Europe and America. Within academia, meanwhile, there is a growing and nuanced study of what waste can mean. Moving away from waste studies at resource and value level, academia now considers waste in its various representations as engaging with the temporal, moral, geographic, economic, and artistic.

This Special Collection will make visible the untold story of waste by exploring its representations, both material and metaphorical, within contemporary culture. Calling on related discourses from the arts, social sciences, medical humanities and beyond, Waste: Disposability, Decay, and Depletion will bring together a diverse collection of quality articles on a (waste) matter that impacts and implicates us all.

This Special Collection is guest edited by Dr Grace Halden (Birkbeck, University of London) and Alice Burks (Birkbeck, University of London).