A Tempus Public Foundation fellow, Sonakshi Srivastava is a writing tutor at Ashoka University. She previously graduated from the University of Delhi, and her works have appeared or are appearing in OddMagazine, Feminism in India, Qissa zine, Potluck Zine, orangepeel mag, ESLA journal etc. She was an Oceanvale scholar at Kirori Mal College for two terms where she researched affect, disposability, and subjectivity. She has thrice been the recipient of the national story writing competition, “MyStory Contest” organized by TATA LitLive, the international literature festival of Mumbai. She was one of the translation recipients of South Asia Speaks mentorship programme and was also shortlisted for the 2020 Serendipity FoodLab Residency. She was also a writer for the Xennoverse Exhibition by ForeignObjekt.
Website: Twitter: @SonakshiS11
In the popular novel “Frankenstein in Baghdad”, a junk dealer curates the dismembered body parts of bomb victims. Little does he know that he has “birthed” a “monster” who embarks on a killing spree – killing, or attempting to kill all those responsible for the death of each constitutive body parts. The outstanding aspect of the new monster is that he is born of waste. Waste assumes various contours and meanings in the novel, and forces one to reassess their relation to the world, and with one another. Its ubiquitous presence haunts our lives, breaking the divide between the public and the private. Discard studies’ scholar Susan Morrison writes about the various meanings that waste assumes in her The Literature of Waste. Waste not only signifies the unproductive part of something but also the extra, the excess. She writes, “Waste has meant desolation, pointlessness, and uselessness, but also excess and surplus” (8). In this thesis, I will navigate through these various contours and meanings so as to understand how waste challenges the very order of the idea of the world that we have and how this “discard turn” can be understood in the context of posthumanism. What complex ideas open up when one begins to think of the very materiality the metaphor of waste – how does the universality of waste inaugurate a new genre of cosmopolitanism? How is waste significant to our understanding of biopolitics that dictates human bodies? How can the subversive power of waste be crucial in shaping our perspective of the world that we inhabit? I propose to navigate through the idea of discard from a posthuman perspective by engaging primarily with the works and lectures of Sepideh Majidi, Ray Brassier, Julia Kristeva, and Martin E Rosenberg amongst others.