Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Typically offered:


Waste is all around us, yet often nearly invisible. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American generates over four pounds of waste each day. This course will look carefully at our discards, bringing them into focus as a wicked sustainability challenge, a source of value, and a cultural product. Students will critically engage with efforts and infrastructures to manage and reduce waste in the state of Maine and beyond. This course moves beyond critique, however, to focus on potential solutions to the waste problem. Our focus will be, as James Ferguson suggests, to think through “real strategies and tactics that would enable one to mobilize around specific programs or initiatives that one might be for, not against.” Through readings, experiential learning, guest lectures, critical reflection, and discussions, students will explore (1) the scale and scope of the waste problem, (2) strategies for managing and reducing waste, and (3) the role of policy in addressing waste issues. This course will emphasize experiential learning. Students will visit sites where waste is processed and revalued to explore the benefits and barriers of these practices as solutions to the waste problem. Students will be evaluated based on their participation, as well as through short written assignments that emphasize critical reflection, synthesis, and translation of academic theories for broader policy audiences.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.