An Urban History Perspective on Discard Studies
I will discuss how central issues of wastes and waste management have been to urban history narratives over the past half century, drawing upon Joel Tarr and Martin Melosi’s work both as authors and as editors of the University of Pittsburgh Press’s History of the Urban Environment series. The most recent volume in that series, Coastal Metropolis: Environmental Histories of Modern New York City, both draws upon that history and presents ways for urban historians to engage with the ideas and approaches discard studies scholars have advanced over the past decade. Coastal Metropolis focuses on the complex relationships of the city’s waterways and waste management practices, and I will discuss some of these relationships using the case study of Newtown Creek.
Carl Zimring is Professor of Sustainability Studies at Pratt Institute. He is an environmental historian interested in how attitudes concerning waste shape society, culture, institutions, and inequalities. His books include Cash for Your Trash, Clean and White, Aluminum Upcycled, and, with Sara P. Pritchard, Technology and the Environment in History. With Steven H. Corey, Zimring has edited Coastal Metropolis: Environmental Histories of Modern New York City for the University of Pittsburgh Press’s History of the Urban Environment series.
Photograph: Image of Carl Zimring by Adam Elstein.