CFP: Picking Through the Trash - Deadline 18 July 2014 - PIVOT

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PIVOT: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought
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Call for Papers: Picking Through the Trash
PIVOT: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought

"Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures."
—Ray Bradbury

"[T]rash talks to us, or certainly speaks of us. However much we want to put trash and garbage and waste and rubbish out of sight, out of mind, out of smell, there is considerable evidence that we take them to be revelatory of all manner of not insignificant facts about individuals, communities, civilizations, or that tired old workhorse the 'human condition.'"
—Elizabeth V Spelman

Even when claiming a love of trash culture, many of us take care to emphasize that this admiration happens at a distance. Phrases like "guilty pleasure" often accompany the admission, for we are aware we might be saying too much about ourselves, or aligning ourselves too closely with something whose main attraction might be its ability to be consumed easily, rapidly, and in large quantities. Yet designating someone or something as being trash or trashy reflects as much on the cultural commentators as on the given object. In this sense, "trash" is a political term, premised on notions of hierarchy and exclusion, even when we try to collapse these through kitsch or camp reclamations.

In this era of escalating environmental crises, our trash is creeping up on us: we are faced more and more with the problems of reducing, reusing, and recycling, and with the ever-political question of where exactly to pile our trash up; thus, the explosion of discussions in urban planning, environmental studies, and other disciplines on how to restore balance to a world overwhelmed by the human ability to "trash" the planet.

PIVOT will explore these themes in its fourth issue, entitled Picking Through the Trash. We invite participants from across disciplinary borders to submit papers that engage with any aspect of this field of inquiry.

Possible topics may include the following thematic concerns:

"Trashy" pleasures, in literature, film, television, and popular culture
Notions of cultural capital and evaluation
Sorting practices, both cultural and literal
Kitsch, camp, re-appropriation, and resistance
Eco-criticism, environmentalism, and urban planning
The abject, decay, and decomposition
Hoarding and other "dirty" habits
Consumerism and appetite
Trash talking and insult culture

Authors are requested to submit full articles of 6,000-8,000 words by Friday July 18, 2014 to

All submissions must follow the style guidelines found at

PIVOT is an annual multidisciplinary journal dedicated to publishing innovative critical writing from emerging and established academics. Each issue encourages scholars from a wide-range of fields to engage with a focused but multifaceted central topic, bringing into conversation their various disciplinary perspectives. By juxtaposing viewpoints and theoretical approaches that may otherwise remain disparate, Pivot creates a space in which readers can explore the intersections between various fields and modes of thought. Our mandate is to showcase scholarly work by graduate students and working academics, and to foster communication and cooperation between students and faculty across disciplinary boundaries. The journal invites contributions of scholarly articles relevant to the upcoming issue's topic, in both English and French, from authors in all scholarly disciplines.