A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
Joshua Goldstein on Recycling in Beijing
Remains of the Everyday traces the changing material culture and industrial ecology of China through the lens of recycling. Over the last century, waste recovery and secondhand goods markets have been integral to Beijing’s economic functioning and cultural identity, and acts of recycling have figured centrally in the ideological imagination of modernity and citizenship. On the one hand, the Chinese state has repeatedly promoted acts of voluntary recycling as exemplary of conscientious citizenship. On the other, informal recycling networks—from the night soil carriers of the Republican era to the collectors of plastic and cardboard in Beijing’s neighborhoods today—have been represented as undisciplined, polluting, and technologically primitive due to the municipal government’s failure to control them. The result, Joshua Goldstein argues, is the repeatedly re-inscribed exclusion of waste workers from formations of modern urban citizenship as well as the intrinsic liminality of recycling itself as an economic process.
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About Joshua Goldstein
Professor Goldstein has been on the USC faculty since 2005. He was an assistant professor at Franklin & Marshall College for 5 years and a visiting faculty member at Yale University in 2002. He lectured at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1998-1999. Additionally, Prof. Goldstein serves on the editorial boards of Zhongguo Xueshu and the Chinese Historical Review. He gave a talk at USCI in 2013 about his previous book, China's Wastelands: How The World's Trash (Including Yours) Ends Up In China's Rivers.
Tensions evident in the recent European Union-China virtual summit reflect the increasing skepticism in Europe toward China and the worries over Ukraine and economic ties as well as human rights and environmental issues.