1st Edition

Waste Matters Urban margins in contemporary literature

By Sarah Harrison Copyright 2017
    140 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    148 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    How do those pushed to the margins survive in contemporary cities? What role do they play in today’s increasingly complex urban ecosystems? Faced with stark disparities in human and environmental wellbeing, what form might more equitable cities take?

    Waste Matters argues that contemporary literature and film offer an insightful and timely response to these questions through their formal and thematic revaluation of urban waste. In their creation of a new urban imaginary which centres on discarded things, degraded places and devalued people, authors and artists such as Patrick Chamoiseau, Chris Abani, Dinaw Mengestu, Suketu Mehta and Vik Muniz suggest opportunities for an inclusive urban politics that demands systematic analysis. Waste Matters assesses the utopian promise and pragmatic limitations of their as yet under-examined work in light of today’s pressing urban challenges.

    This book will be of great interest to scholars and students of English Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Urban Studies, Environmental Humanities and Film Studies.

    1. Introduction: Locating Urban Waste  2. ‘Anything could turn out to be something’: Gleaning Slum History in Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco  3. ‘Suspended City’: Personal, Urban and National Development in Chris Abani’s Graceland  4. ‘A New Heightened Sense of Place’: Dinaw Mengestu’s Cognitive Map of Washington, D.C.  5. Seeing the Obvious? Contradictory Visibilities in Indian City Literature  6. Spectacular Trash: Contemporary Remediations of Global Urban Waste


    Sarah K. Harrison completed a PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.