History of the Wastelands Seminar

The ongoing Wastelands Faculty Seminar was first funded in 2014 by Washington University in St. Louis’ Center for the Humanities. In monthly meetings over the course of three years, participants read and discussed historical and anthropological scholarship on ruination, ecocritical literary theory, and philosophy on post-humanism. They also presented their original research, including a pilot digital mapping project to track representations and perceptions of a blighted urban corridor in St. Louis.


In 2016, we received a Sawyer Seminar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand the reading group into a year-long comparative inquiry structured through a formal program of visiting scholars during AY 2017-2018.

Speakers & Events

Mirta Villanueva

Ecoterritorial defender, Cajamarca, Peru

Exhibition: "Guardians of the Body-Territory", Olin Library

April 1st-  21st, 2020

Public Symposium: “Transnational Apertures in Eco-Justice Activism: Connections across borders”

With Bret Gustafson, Associate Professor of Anthropology (Washington University in St. Louis)

April 1st, 2020 

Kate Brown

Professor of History in the Science, Technology and Society Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Public Lecture: “The Great Chernobyl Acceleration”

February 25th, 2020 

Graduate Student Workshop: Public-facing Humanities Writing and Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten (University of Chicago Press 2015)

February 26th, 2020

Samer Frangie

Associate Professor, Political Studies and Public Administration, and Director, Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University of Beirut

"Protests in Lebanon:

The 'Trash Uprising' and the End of the Post-War Republic"

November 30, 2016

Ilana Feldman

Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs, George Washington University

Punctuated Humanitarianism:

Between the Catastrophic and the Cruddy in Gaza

November 13, 2014

Charif Kiwan

Spokesperson for the Abounddara Film Collective (Syria/France)

Snapshots of History in the Making: A Syrian Documentary Film

February 26, 2015

  • WashU
  • Facebook - Black Circle