Global movements of garbage focus of talk by visiting scholar

March 17, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Center for Global Studies at Penn State will host Sean Grattan, visiting assistant professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at Gettysburg College, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in 124 Sparks Building on the University Park campus. All students, faculty, colleagues, and friends are welcome to attend.

His talk is titled ''Trash Ecologies: The Transnational Mise-En-Scène of Garbage.'' Grattan will cover the global movements of garbage and the deliberate avoidance of the problem -- the concerted effort made to ignore, forget, or refuse to acknowledge its existence  -- as well as its effects on the environment. Circulating through nonhuman actors like currents and migratory patterns, garbage crosses national borders and sometimes seems to take on a life of its own. This talk will examine representations of the obdurate materiality of garbage in what is increasingly described as an immaterial age.

Grattan received his doctorate in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and his bachelor of arts in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College. His research and teaching interests are in contemporary American literature and literary theory. He has published articles on William Burroughs, Toni Morrison and Benedict Spinoza. His current book project, "Utopian Affects: Horizons of Community in Contemporary American Literature," is on the intersections of utopian ideals and contemporary American literature.

For more information about this and other Center for Global Studies events, visit


  • Trash ecologies lecture
    IMAGE: Chris Jordan

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 20, 2019