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“Wastelands of the Permanent War Machine: the Domestic Ruins of the American Military Industrial Complex”

Joshua Reno
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Binghamton University
3.22.18
4pm, McDonnell 162

The general superiority of American warcraft means that most are not destroyed by enemies, but instead grow old until they outlive their usefulness and need to be actively disposed of. Given their role as tokens of military dominance, what happens when this impressive, global war machine begins to wear and rot? While service members and politicians manage the use of warcraft when they are commissioned, a wide variety of civilian businesses, activists, artists, and non-profits are involved in their repurposing and final disposal as scrap. What can the production and reuse of these warcraft tell us about American entanglement with permanent war machine? And can this provoke critical reflections about its excessive and needless expenditure?

Joshua O. Reno is an Associate Professor at Binghamton University. Most of his work focuses on various types of waste, mammalian, municipal and, most recently, militaristic, particularly their
significance for political economy and their emergent entanglement with human and non- human life. With Catherine Alexander he co-edited Economies of Recycling (2012). His ethnography Waste Away is based on
a large landfill in the rural outskirts of Detroit. He is in the process of writing a new book on the waste of the American military industrial complex, based on research with abandoned and reused military equipment and forgotten sites of destructive creation.