Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Pg. 99: Micah McKay's "Trash and Limits in Latin American Culture"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Trash and Limits in Latin American Culture by Micah McKay.

About the book, from the publisher:
The ecological, social, and aesthetic functions of garbage in literature and film from Argentina to Mexico

This book looks at the role of waste in Latin American cultural texts from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and makes the case for foregrounding trash as an object of analysis in literary and cultural studies in Spanish America and Brazil. By considering how writers and filmmakers engage with the theme, Micah McKay argues that garbage illuminates key limits related to the region’s experience with contemporary capitalism.

Recognizing trash as an important social reality, McKay traces its appearance in a diverse range of products: novels and documentary films with dumps as settings, short stories whose main characters are garbage pickers, and works that portray writing as a process of piecing together found materials. McKay argues that waste and the problems it poses are key to understanding marginalization, political struggle, and the production of aesthetic value.

Drawing on insights from material ecocriticism, discard studies, and biopolitics, McKay theorizes that trash opens a space of reflection on what it means to be human, the possibilities for building community amid catastrophe, gendered notions of labor and care, and the pitfalls of neoliberal environmentalism. McKay shows how trash in literature and film helps readers and viewers contemplate the limits of how we inhabit the planet.
Learn more about Trash and Limits in Latin American Culture at the University Press of Florida website.

The Page 99 Test: Trash and Limits in Latin American Culture.

--Marshal Zeringue