2013-2014: Global Garbage


Keywords: abandonment, decay, dirt, disposal, excess, garbage, recycling, renewal, residue, ruins, sustainability, trash, waste

The theme of the 2013-2014 ASCA Cities Seminar is “global garbage”. We are interested in exploring the many ways in which garbage – in its diverse forms and articulations – is being produced, managed, experienced, imagined, circulated, concealed, and aestheticized in contemporary urban environments and across different creative and cultural practices.

To what extent are contemporary cities becoming wastelands? In what ways are the global economics of excess and waste reshaping urban communities? How do the ever accelerating cycles of production, consumption, and disposal redirect urban flows of capital, commodities, data, and people? What new types and concepts of waste are produced by mechanisms of time-space compression and intensified global connectivity? How do imaginaries of trash or ruination figure in urban policy discourses and their counter-narratives? And what is the position of waste, dirt, and residue in a pervasive visual culture of excess?

Engaging with these sorts of questions, the seminar will explore how, and under what conditions, contemporary forms/sites of excess, waste, and abandonment perpetuate – but also sometimes counter – the imbalances of power that recent books such as Mike Davis’ Planet of Slums, Edward Soja’s Seeking Spatial Justice, and Arjun Appadurai’s The Future as Cultural Fact have associated with the global metropolitan condition.

The seminar is open to all ASCA/NICA members and registered participants, including PhD and Research MA students from all Dutch universities. Selected Research MA students may participate in the seminar for university credit and have it count as a tutorial for their studies. Please contact the organizer for eligibility and further details.

Sept. 20: Dr. Ben Campkin (The Bartlett/UCL UrbanLab): “The Excesses and Wastes of Regeneration in London”, Location: Vondelzaal (University Library, Singel 425), Time: 3-6pm.

 Oct. 18: Dr. Sudeep Dasgupta (University of Amsterdam): “Space, Time, and the Margins of the City”, Location: Vondelzaal (University Library, Singel 425), Time: 3-6pm.

Nov. 15: Focused reading and discussion led by Judith Naeff (University of Amsterdam): “On Waste”, Location: Room 101A (University Theater, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18) Time: 3-6pm.

Dec. 13: Dr. Dan Hassler-Forest (University of Amsterdam): “Zombies in the City: Junk-space, Disposable Labor, and Urban Militarization”, Location: Vondelzaal (University Library, Singel 425), Time: 3-6pm.

Feb. 14: Dr. Simone Müller-Pohl (University of Freiburg): “‘Fish don’t vote.’ The City of Philadelphia and Ocean Dumping, 1973-1986”, Location: Belle van Zuylenzaal (University Library, Singel 425), Time: 3-6pm.

March 21: Focused reading and discussion led by Pedram Dibazar and Miriam Meissner (University of Amsterdam): “On Leftovers”, Location: Vondelzaal (University Library, Singel 425), Time: 3-6pm.

 April 25: Prof. Katarzyna J. Cwiertka (Leiden University): “East-Asian Garbage, in Perspective”, Location: Room E0.14C (Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48), Time: 3-6pm.