Trash Objects (Deadline 7/1/18)

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference
contact email: 

Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference

Conference Date: October 27th, 2018

Trash Objects


The defining qualities of trash can change from moment to moment.  Who gets to discard detritus, and who is thrown into to the garbage can? Whether referring to cast-off material or undesirable aesthetics and affects, “trash” is designed, regulated, and disposed of by social hierarchies. Consumer culture manufactures trash–both the literal waste that lingers in landfills and the lowbrow schlock produced by executives in corporate boardrooms. But can trash also refuse Western power structures and the white, masculinist heteronorms inherent to them?


How is the value of life determined by a culture built on waste and disposability? How are lives, both human and other-than-human, deemed expendable, worthless, excessive, or dirty? How is the definition of human determined in relation to trash?  How are gender identity, racial domination, and class conflict marked by trashy designations?  Who looks at, works with, lives among, or is trash?  Can trash resist its busted status? What is the radical potential of trash? How do reactionary trash and revolutionary trash stink up our cultural space?  When do we come to accept some trash as treasure, while other garbage is relegated to the scrap-heap of history?


To dig into these politics of trash, we invite paper submissions from across the humanities that engage in all kinds of muckraking and dumpster-diving.  We are particularly interested in papers that span a broad range of disciplines, time periods, and critical approaches to the idea of trash.  We welcome responses from all fields and disciplines interested in re-thinking trash and offering a new take on what it means to “talk trash.”


Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short bio, to by July 1 2018

Possible Topics Include:


Elitism Ÿ Pornography Ÿ Landfills Ÿ Dereliction Ÿ Vagrancy Ÿ Visa laws Ÿ Critical Race Theory Ÿ Class Ÿ Biopolitics Ÿ Bioethics Ÿ Anthropocene Ÿ Ecocriticism Ÿ Environmental Justice Ÿ Corporate Malfeasance Ÿ Legal studies Ÿ Immigration Ÿ Pollution Ÿ Body Studies Ÿ Ecofeminism Ÿ Commodification Ÿ Consumer Culture Ÿ Abjection Ÿ Affect Theory Ÿ Disgust Ÿ Excess Ÿ Filth Ÿ Reality TV Ÿ Material Culture Ÿ Popular Culture Ÿ Visual studies Ÿ History of Trash Ÿ Use Value Ÿ Sentimentality Ÿ Kitsch Ÿ Camp Ÿ Dispossession Ÿ Landscape Ÿ Refuse Ÿ Borderlands Ÿ Contamination Ÿ Cultural History Ÿ Object-Oriented Ontology Ÿ Regulation Ÿ Aesthetics Ÿ Plasticity Ÿ Preservation Ÿ Decay Ÿ Industry Ÿ Waste Management Ÿ Freeganism Ÿ Odor Ÿ Urbanism