+ Assigned reading
*   Assigned reading excerpt that is part of larger book available for review
°   Not required reading

  1. (Feb. 4) Introductions

– Introductions

– Discuss excerpt from

– Jane Bennett, Italo Calvino, “La Poubelle Agrée”

– Show scenes from Lucy Walker, dir. Waste Land.


  1. (Feb. 11) General Studies of Waste

+ Italo Calvino, “La Poubelle Agrée,” The Road to San Giovanni.

+ Patricia Yaeger, “The Death of Nature and the Apotheosis of Trash; or, Rubbish Ecology,” PMLA 123, no. 2 (2008): 327–

* John Scanlan, On Garbage

+ William A. Cohen and Ryan Johnson, eds. Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life, (introduction).


  1. (Feb. 18) Structuralist Anthropology and Psychology
    * Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger, Intro–chapter two (1-41).

* Julia Kristeva, The Powers of Horror: A Study in Abjection (1-18).

° Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, in The Kristeva Reader (89-98).

+ Suzanne Raitt, “Psychic Waste: Freud, Fechner, and the Principle of Constancy” (73–82).

+ Sigmund Freud, “Character and Anal-Erotism” (3 pgs.)


  1. (Feb. 25) Waste and Modernism: Two Perspectives Feb. 18
    + Walter Benjamin, TK

+ Baudelaire , “The Rag-Picker”

* Marta Banta, Taylored Lives: Narrative Productions in the Age of Taylor, Veblen, and Ford (selections).
+ Tim Armstrong, “Disciplining the Corpus: Henry James and Fletcherism,” American Bodies.

* Amelia Jones, Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada (excerpt)

° Cecilia Tichi, Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modern America (excerpts).


  1. (March 3) Waste and Economics

° Karl Marx, Grundrisse (excerpts).

+ Vijay Gidwani, “Six Thesis on Waste, Value, and Commons”

+ David Graeber, TK, “”

° Steve McCaffery, “A General Economy of Writing,” North of Intention

            * Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share (excerpts)



  1. (March 10) Ruins and Junkspace

+ Edward Burnetsky, dir. Manufactured Landscapes

+ Rem Koolhaas, “Junkspace”

° Anik Fournier, “The Ruin in the Age of Junkspace”

+ Reading TK about ruins and nationalism

* Gastón Gordillo, Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. 1-30.


  1. (March 17) Ethnographies of Waste Management

* Robin Nagle, Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City.

+ Frederick Kaufman, “Waste Land: A Journey Through the American Cloaca,”
Harper’s (Feb 2008).

* Rose George, The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste, 1-37, 65-87

  1. (March 24) Waste, Identity, Stigma (Gender, Race, Class, Sexuality)

* Zygmunt Bauman, Wasted Lives: Modernity and its Outcasts (excerpts).

* Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer (excerpts)

* Katherine Bond Stockton, Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where “Black” Meets “Queer”

° Sherry Ortner, “Woman is to Nature as Man is to Culture”

* Judith Butler, Gender Trouble? (excerpt)

* Judith Butler, When Is Life Grievable? (excerpt)

° Samuel Delany, Mad Men (excerpts)


  1. (March 31) Ecology and Problematizing Nature

+Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

– William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness.”

– Jonathan Skinner, Ecopoetics “Editor’s Note”
° Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology,” PMLA 125.2 (2010): 273–282

° John Ashbery, The Vermont Notebook (excerpts)

– Heather Rogers, “Garbage Capitalism’s Green Commerce,” Coming to Terms with Nature, ed. Leo Panitch and Colin Leys (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2007), 238–.


  1. (April 7) Art History and Waste

* Research Proposal Due

+ Hal Foster, “The Archival Impulse”

– Hal Foster, “Abject Art” in The Return of the Real

Robert Smithson, “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey.”

– Martha Rosler, “Gar(b)age Sale Standard”

– Mierle Laderman Ukeles, “Maintenance Art” manifest

° Hal Foster on Thomas Hirschhorn, Bad News Days

+ Lucy Walker, dir. Waste Land

° “Caroline Jones,” et al. Art and Globalization (excerpts)

° Nicholas Bourriaud, The Radicant           

° Oswald de Andrade, “Manifesto Antropofagia”


  1. (April 14) Matter, Texture, Media

* Sianne Ngai, “Raw Matter: A Poetics of Disgust”

* Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling

+ Lisa Robertson, Nilling, “Disquiet”

+ Rob Halpern, Music for Porn (excerpts)

+ Agnès Varda, dir. The Gleaners and I

° Brenda Coultas, A Handmade Museum

° Renu Bora, “Outing Texture,” Novel Gazing


  1. (April 21) Materiality, the Non-Human Turn

* Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter

* Scott Terrell Herring, Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture

+ Bill Brown, “Materiality,” Critical Terms for Media Studies


  1. Student Presentations May 5
  2. Student Presentations May 12
  3. Final Essay Due May 19 – No extensions!