Waste is a complex subject—simultaneously the discarded excess of our everyday lives and a resource on which other people depend for their livelihood; a problem for governments and businesses; and an idea with wide ranging cultural and social connotations. Beliefs about waste and waste management practices are culturally and socially specific and vary from region to region. Yet with increasing globalization, practices and beliefs about waste in any particular place are consequential on a global scale.

The Place of Waste: Exploring Asian and Western Perspectives on Waste, Sustainability, and Environment

Waste beliefs and practices change over time and diffuse through geographic space. Waste is therefore an ideal lens through which to engage an array of vital, current issues, and grappling with its complexity requires insights from across the academy (social and natural sciences, humanities and arts), public governance and private enterprise. Waste, then, is ideally approached from an integrated, engaged liberal arts perspective.

Ohio Wesleyan has obtained a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to benefit our students and programs, co-directed by John Krygier (Environmental Studies, hereafter ES) and Jim Peoples (East Asian Studies, hereafter EAS). Our focus is waste, broadly defined, in an Asian/Western comparative context. Our project is exploratory: we are asking participating faculty and collaborators to consider the concepts and applications related to waste within their fields or disciplines. Participants are not expected to be experts in waste or waste related fields; instead, this is an interdisciplinary learning experience for all participants.

Outcomes include:

  • Infusion of curricular content on East Asia in OWU ES (and other) courses; infusion of content on waste, sustainability and environment in OWU EAS (and other) courses.
  • Expansion of East Asia-focused theory to practice opportunities for OWU students.
  • Expansion of partnerships with academic partners in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.
  • Engagement with Central Ohio Asia-based corporate partners.
  • Collaboration with Ohio 5 + Earlham faculty and students.

The means to these ends include:

  • Summer 2015: EAS faculty travel to Japan, Taiwan and Korea to engage with our Asian collaborators in those countries.
  • Fall 2015: Symposium and Workshop for participating faculty and students to engage with a small number of experts and industry practitioners and develop ideas for course content. This effort includes inviting speakers to campus for the proposed Spring 2016 Sagan National Colloquium. These speakers will engage with participating faculty in their spring courses and speak to a more general audience as part of the SNC.
  • Spring 2016: Sagan National Colloquium: focused on speakers who will collaborate with OWU faculty and students in specific OWU courses. Speakers will also give public talks during their visit.



Sagan National Colloquium
Slocum Hall, Room 339
Delaware, Ohio 43015

P (740) 368-3995

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