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Turning Trash into Treasure: Shadow Economies and Uninvited Ecologies in Southwest China
February 20 @ 1:00 pm
“Turning Trash into Treasure: Shadow Economies and Uninvited Ecologies in Southwest China,”
Adam Liebman, PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at University of California-Davis
This talk traces entanglements between excess matter and marginalized people in (post-)socialist southwest China. Out of these entanglements, life sustaining relations are often made athwart shifting plantation regimes of production as well as waste management regimes of containment and waste reutilization. I move between practices of making new worlds out of proliferating garbage in Kunming City and the contested relations which extend out from rubber tree plantation excesses in southern Yunnan Province (e.g. rubber seeds, leftover latex, and fungal parasites). I also critically probe the new attention these shadowy realms of life are receiving from state-entrepreneurial coalitions motivated by “circular economy” initiatives to build a utopian world without waste. Lastly, I consider how the Chinese case of 20th century socialist state rubber plantations, and their 21st century transformation into supposed nodes of circular economies, can enrich the “Plantationocene as epoch” provocation.
If you are interested in meeting with Adam during his visit, please reach out to Shari Wilcox, firstname.lastname@example.org.