Waste Now! Histories and Contemporalities of Discards Online Conference Program

Keynote Talks by Carl A. Zimring, Pratt Institute, USA and Peter Wynn Kirby, University of Oxford, UK

Conference Program

Session times are provided in Shanghai (China Standard Time, CST, UTC+08:00), Berlin (Central European time, CET, UTC+02:00), New York (Eastern Time, ET, UTC-04:00). 

Please register here to access conference zoom link.

The Waste Now! conference is co-organized by Iris BorowyCenter for the History of Global Development at the Shanghai University, and Viktor PálHelsinki Environmental Humanities, University of Helsinki. The conference is supported by the Social Impact Funding  of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences. 


Conference Opening and Opening Keynote

4 June 2021 (Friday), 10 PM-11.30 PM, Shanghai / 4 PM - 5.30 PM, Berlin / 10 AM - 11.30 AM, New York 

Conference Opening and Short Introduction of the Waste Now! Project by Conference Conveyors Iris Borrowy, Shanghai University, and Viktor Pál, University of Helsinki.

Carl A. Zimring, Pratt Institute, An Urban History Perspective on Discard Studies.


Conference Program updated on June 7, 2021.

(Due to COVID-19 a handful of  papers were cancelled and panels were reorganized. Panel 12 has dissolved. Please kindly see details below.)

Organizers are sending their profound symphaties and deep solidarity to dear fellow colleagues and their families who are fighting against the pandemic, and some have already lost family members as well taken ill by COVID-19. 

Panel 1. “Cities and Waste”

8 June 2021 (Tuesday), 9 AM - 11 AM, Shanghai / 3 AM - 5 AM, Berlin / 9 PM - 11 PM (June 7), New York 

Michael Chew, Monash University, Waste Through the Lens: Multi-Sited Participatory Visual Approaches.

Camila Bertranou, Catholic University of Chile, Illegal Dumping and State Noncompliance in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago: the Politics of Institutional Weakness and Environmental Suffering.

Jaime Ding, www.nyctrash.info, Garbage Education in 1950s NYC.


Panel 2. “Culture and Waste in China”

8 June 2021 (Tuesday), 11 AM- 1 PM, Shanghai / 5 AM - 7 AM, Berlin / 11 PM - 1 AM (June 7-8), New York 

Timothy Yeung Tin Ping, The Courtauld Institute of Art London, Towards a Posthuman Ethics? The Politics of Waste in Contemporary Chinese Art.

Rosaline (Yi Yi Mon) Kyo, Davidson College, Becoming Waste: An Examination of Chen Qiulin’s Farewell Poem (2002) and Jia Zhangke’s Still Life (2006).


Panel 3. “Waste and Communities in India”

8 June 2021 (Tuesday), 3 PM- 5 PM, Shanghai / 9 AM - 11 AM, Berlin / 3 AM - 5 AM, New York 

Madhu, Miranda House, University of Delhi, Caste, Hierarchy and Cultural Construction of Food (Waste). 

Ajay Koli, Maitreyee Mukherjee, and Aditi Saxena, Vishwakarma University, Manhole Menace in India.

Pinar Temocin, Hiroshima University, Examining the Role of Community Involvement in Solid Waste Management in Southern India: The Case of Kozhikode, Kerala.


Panel 4. “Waste Challenges in India”

8 June 2021 (Tuesday), 9 PM- 11 PM, Shanghai / 3 PM - 5 PM, Berlin / 9 AM - 11 AM, New York 

Madhuvanti Mukherjee, Vidyasagar University, Histories and Contemporalities of Menstrual Product Disposal in South Asia.

Kornberg, Dana, University of California, Santa Barbara, Quantifying Garbage: Evidence from India’s Solid Waste Industry.

Aparna Agarwal, University of Oxford, Cast(e)ing off Materials: A Study of Nomadic Communities around the Bhalswa Landfill in Delhi.


Panel 5. “Hazardous and Plastic Waste"

8 June 2021 (Tuesday), 11 PM- 1 AM (June 9), Shanghai  / 5 PM - 7 PM, Berlin / 11 AM - 1 PM, New York 

Rohini Patel, University of Toronto, Military Pesticide Disposal.

Dario Fazzi, Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, “Ban the Burn:” The Trans-Local Struggle against Ocean Incineration.

Andrija Filipović, University of Belgrade, Hyperplastic Ecology: Plastic and Plastic Discards in (post)Yugoslav Art and Culture.


Panel 6. “Conceptualizing Waste”

9 June 2021 (Wednesday), 3 PM- 5 PM, Shanghai / 9 AM - 11 AM, Berlin / 3 AM - 5 AM, New York 

Signe Mikkelsen, University of Oslo, Troubled Boundaries: Ethnographic Explorations of Waste in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Pankaj Sekhsaria, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas, and Shashank Deora, IIT-Bombay, Scrap to 'Cutting-Edge' Scientific Instrument to Scrap.


Panel 7. “Clothes / Lifestyle and Waste”

9 June 2021 (Wednesday), 5 PM- 7 PM, Shanghai / 11 AM - 1 PM, Berlin / 5 AM - 7 AM, New York 

Simran Bedi, Arya P.G. College, Experiencing One Shade of South Asian Urbanity: Decentering the Politics of Cast-off Clothing.

Mike Crang, Geography, Durham University, and Shaolian Ding, Yunnan Financial University, Moral Economies of Used Clothes Amongst the Rising Middle Classes in China. 

Mallory Xinyu Zhan, University of Geneva, Citizens Against Waste: Sustainable Lifestyle and the Zero Waste Movement in Urban China.

Laura Prosperi, University of Milan-Bicocca, Food Wastage Against Food Safety: New Insights from History.


Panel 8. “Waste and Sustainability”

9 June 2021 (Wednesday), 7 PM- 9 PM, Shanghai / 1 PM - 3 PM, Berlin / 7 AM - 9 AM, New York 

Roh Pin Lee, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, and Helge Wendt, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, From Coal-to-X to Waste-to-X: Historical Developments to Promote Circularity and Cleaner Chemical Production via Sustainable Utilization of Coal and Waste.

Alicia Ng, University of Helsinki, Polluted Histories, Clean Futures? Opposing Scenarios for an Electronic Waste Circular Economy in China.

Andrzej W. Nowak, Adam Mickiewicz University, How Much Calories Did Your Paper Cost? Quest for Sustainable and Waste-Free Knowledge.

Velislava Petrova, Cultural Studies Department, Sofia University, Recycling Imported Waste. A Perspective from the EU Periphery.


Panel 9.  “Food Waste and Social Transformations”

9 June 2021 (Wednesday), 9 PM- 11 PM, Shanghai / 3 PM - 5 PM, Berlin / 9 AM - 11 AM, New York 

Iryna Skubii, Queen’s University, Food Wastes and Survival During the Famine.

Tetiana Perga, National Academy of Science of Ukraine, Utilization of food waste in the Ukrainian USSR 1950-1980s.

B.B. Price and P. Lalonde, Glendon College, York University, Defining Food (and Food Waste).

Deniz Özeren, Koç University / University of Vienna, and Onur İnal, University of Vienna, Waste and Modernity: Thinking of Filth in Late Ottoman and Early Republic Istanbul.


Panel 10. “Multi Perspectives on Waste”

9 June 2021 (Wednesday), 1 AM- 3 AM, Shanghai (June 10) / 5 PM - 7 PM, Berlin / 1 PM - 3 PM, New York 

Carolyn Schutten, University of California Riverside, Female Factory Workers in a “Maquilapolis”: Transborder Hazardous Waste Flows and Environmental Justice at the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Song Tian, Southern University of Science and Technology, Inveterate Disease of Industrial Civilization: Garbage Problems in the Perspective of Thermodynamics.

Olivier Barsalou and Mélisande Séguin, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Ignorance, Absence, and the Un-Making of International Environmental Law in a World Saturated with Waste.

Uyilawa Usuanlele, State University New York, Changing Nature of Waste Management in Benin City, Nigeria since the 19th century.


Panel 11.  “Culture and Waste” 

10 June 2021 (Thursday), 5 PM- 7.30 PM, Shanghai / 11 AM - 1.30 PM, Berlin / 5 AM - 7.30 AM, New York 

Ti-han Chang, University of Central Lancashire, The Agency of Waste: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in Pacific Climate Fiction.

Keitaro Morita, Rikkyo University, Nuclear Waste in a ‘Tibet’ in Fukushima?: Reading “Hikari no Yama (Mountain of Light)” by Genyu Sokyu as Post-3/11 Japanese Environmental Literature.

Virginie Arantes, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solid Waste and the Creation of the Moral ‘Self’.

Olusegun Stephen Titus, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Sounding the Nigerian Music on Solid and Electronic Wastes in Lagos City Nigeria.

Katarzyna Jaroszc, University of Logistics in Wrocław, Solid Waste Management in West Tian Shan Mountains.


Closing Keynote

10 June 2021 (Thursday), 11 PM- 1 AM (June 11), Shanghai / 5 PM - 7 PM, Berlin / 11 AM - 1 PM, New York  

Peter Wynn Kirby, University of Ox­ford, Waste Now, Forever Waste: Nuc­lear Residues in Ja­pan and Beyond


Photo Credit: www.fortepan.hu, Főfotó, Image No. 208008