"Recycling Culture: An Aesthetics of Waste"
Seminar at the Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 17-20, 2016

Organizers: Markus Wilczek (Tufts); Paul North (Yale)

This seminar investigates conceptualizations of "waste," "trash," "junk," or "refuse" in theory, literature, art, and film.

While the management of waste has become a key challenge in modern societies, it has for a long time remained a blind spot of artistic representation and aesthetic reflection. But the consideration of waste as a cultural phenomenon is pivotal for two reasons. First, comparing and contrasting cultural perceptions and social practices allows us to better understand the status of waste. Investigating artistic and theoretical negotiations of waste throughout history and across cultures will help to develop better policies and technical strategies. Second, focusing on waste not only as a theme, but also as motor of cultural productivity allows us to better understand the formation of culture itself. Examining the ways in which culture can be understood as a rejection or transformation of waste opens up new lines of inquiry for aesthetic theory. With this double focus, the seminar intends to initiate a methodological dialogue between materialist and formalist approaches within the (environmental) humanities.

We invite papers that explore any aspect of waste, including but not limited to questions of "legacy waste" and "hyperobjects;" environmental justice; race, class, gender; digital waste, spam; toxic discourse; transcorporeality; relation between environmental activism, aesthetics, and criticism.

For more information and for submitting a paper proposal, please visit:
Paper proposals may be submitted between 9/1/15 and 9/23/15.

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: