Trash Talk Lecture: Garbage: Learning to Unsee

Cambridge, August 15, 2011 - Garbage is rich with contradictions. It is both intimate and global, ubiquitous and invisible. We generate trash in vast quantities but few of us know where it goes, or how it gets there, or what happens to it next.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology &d Ethnology presents the free lecture, "Garbage: Learning to Unsee," on Thursday September 15 at 5:30 P.M. at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge). The lecture will be followed by a public reception at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Ave.).

Trash also has much to teach. This talk considers some of its lessons, looking at its uncertain status in our everyday lives and its role in our understanding of the world.

What are some of the logistical challenges of trash, and how are those necessary infrastructures built into the rhythms of a city? What are the implications of cultural, historic, and economic patterns that create discards while requiring us not to see them? What is the cost of unseeing our waste, and what might happen if we were to reconfigure our perception so that garbage becomes visible?

The speaker is Robin Nagle, director of the Draper Program in Humanities and Social Thought, New York University and Anthropologist-in-Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Additional talks in this series include an archaeological view of trash, managing materials to achieve sustainable results, and a look at industrialized America's trash. Join us this Fall for an exploration of the anthropology of waste!

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397


Photo by D'Arcy Norman. Creative Commons - some rights reserved.

Garbage: Learning to Unsee, the first in the Peabody Museum Trash Talk series of free lectures, is Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.

A public reception follows at the Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.

Public information: 617-496-1027.