Human waste generation has increased exponentially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is projected to rise even further in the foreseeable future. A combination of a fourfold increase in global population, unprecedented increases in wealth and consumption, urbanization, and changing purchasing habits and a shift towards the use of single-use and disposable items. Originating in the United States, these changes have spread around the world, and some projections estimate that global solid-waste generation rates will exceed 11 million tonnes per day by the year 2100, with the areas of high waste generation shifting from OECD countries to Asia and subsequently to Southern Africa as people in these areas become wealthier and more urbanized. These transformations have had dramatic environmental consequences and have been identified by the scientific community as some of the main driving factors behind anthropogenic climate change and the global environmental crisis.
While a growing body of literature has studied the phenomenon in Europe and North America, the environmentally focused social sciences know little on the global history of waste and discards as well as the continuities and interconnectivities of the past and present of garbage in non-Western societies.
In this vein, we invite contributions that combine conceptual considerations with practical or empirical data. We particularly welcome discussions of challenges that go beyond disciplines, including approaches from history, sociology, material studies, environmental humanities, geography, anthropology and other disciplines. Papers co-authored by scholars and practitioners are also encouraged. Academic researchers are invited to submit proposals, as are researcher-practitioners, involved stakeholders, or actors holding other types of para-academic engagement with waste. Editors welcome proposals tackling all social and cultural aspects of waste, especially those related to:
- food waste
- nuclear waste
- solid waste
- toxic waste
- waste dumps
Submissions should include a 300 words abstract and short author CV and should be sent by April 15 to editors email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors are expected to present their draft papers at a ZOOM (online) workshop organized jointly by the Center for the History of Global Development at Shanghai University, China and University of Helsinki Environmental Humanities Hub, Finland on 9-10 June 2021. Final manuscript submissions to book editors are expected by October 2021, with submission to press in April 2022.