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Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies pres.

CREES Noon Lecture. Nature, Consumption, and Waste in the Cold War and Beyond

Zsuzsa Gille, professor of sociology and director of global studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hungarian industrial poster Hungarian industrial poster
Hungarian industrial poster
The goal of this lecture is to reevaluate state socialism’s environmental record from a transnational rather than a comparative perspective. Zsuzsa Gille will argue that state socialist modernity had its own view of nature and materials, as well as a largely misunderstood ethical stance to consumption that is ignored in today’s studies of Capitalocene examining the interrelations of capitalism and climate crisis. The presentation will provide an overview of the environmental advantages and disadvantages of central planning with an eye to demonstrating how Cold War-era trans-bloc relations and a unique socialist economic logic mutually constituted each other. In discussing the post-1989 developments, she will demonstrate a missed opportunity for a greener postsocialism. Instead of returning to the rightfully criticized Anthropocene term, Gille will argue for a more central role for waste and materiality in our understanding of the current dilemmas around global environmental problems.

Zsuzsa Gille is professor of sociology and director of global studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is author of "Paprika, Foie Gras, and Red Mud: The Politics of Materiality in the European Union" (Indiana University Press, 2016); "From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Postsocialist Hungary;" co-editor of "Post-Communist Nostalgia" with Maria Todorova (Berghahn Press, 2010); co-editor of the forthcoming book "The Socialist Good Life: Desire, Development, and Standards of Living in Eastern Europe;" and co-author of "Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World" (University of California Press, 2000).

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this event, please reach out to weisercenter@umich.edu at least 2 weeks in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
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