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Waste pedagogies in Andean common worlds

Sat, September 1, 2:00 to 3:30pm, ICC, E5.9


Young children around the world inherit a waste crisis. Yet, this global crisis is differentially experienced in the global south where solid waste management practices are precarious, trash sticks to neocolonial movements of human and nonhuman bodies across geopolitical borders, and waste intersects with local elements and forces that challenge human-nonhuman separations. In this presentation, drawing on ethnographic research in Ecuador, I weave feminist environmental humanities and science technology studies (de la Cadena, 2015; Hird, 2012; Neimanis et al., 2017) with a common world childhoods framework (Taylor, 2013) to explore young children's entangled lives with plastics in an Andean village.

I bring together the migration of human bodies from the Ecuadorean Andes to North American cities, plastics' participation in global assemblages and in Andean politics, and local onto-epistemologies to develop situated waste pedagogies. These waste pedagogies reconfigure ineffective, even detrimental, waste management strategies such as the Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and engage 'productive uncertainty' (Ong, 2016). Such reconfiguration emphasizes the different registers of uncertainty that are at play in Andean waste futures: from plastics' material transformation, to the uncertainties of the golden age of recycling, to the 'known unknowns' that education confronts in attempts to provide short and long term answers to the Anthropocene.