ENVI 322
Trash Fall 2017
Division II
Cross-listed GBST 322 / ANTH 322 / ENVI 322
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What is waste? What is filth? Why do titles or categories of sanitation workers–“garbage man,” for instance–bear such charged social and sometimes moral significance in many societies? In this seminar we will critically examine the production of waste and its role in the production of value, meaning, hierarchy, and the environment. Readings will be of three types. First we will consider theoretical inquiries into the relations between filth and culture. Second, we will examine studies of the political and environmental consequences of systems of waste management historically and in the present, with a focus on South Asia and the United States. Third, we will read ethnographies of sanitation labor and social hierarchy with the same regional focus – work on Dhaka and Delhi, Chicago and New York. There is also a fieldwork component to this class. In groups, students will conduct ethnographic micro-studies of elements of the systems of waste production and management in Berkshire County (e.g., cafeterias, retail outlets, homes, dorms, recycling facilities, sewage treatment plants). Students will post field notes to a class blog, and each group will present its findings in the form of a short film, multimedia presentation, or paper.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1058
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: regular posting of critical response papers and an ethnographic final project
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: seniors and juniors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST 322 Division II ANTH 322 Division II ENVI 322 Division II

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