Men and their Waste

Lecturer(s): Romain SAUZET
Course ⋅ 32 h


Identify the importance of a historical and socio-cultural approach to waste. Think about human societies from what they reject, from their margins and their landfills. Study the impact of production and consumption patterns on the creation and treatment of waste. Address the socioeconomic issues of waste treatment in France and in Europe today. Question the anthropological ambivalence of the status of waste (waste or resource?). Understand the importance of waste recovery while developing a critical reflection on sustainable development.


Garbage, Environment, Sustainable Development, Society, Overproduction, Waste, History.


The course will cover the following topics:

  • Anthropological and historical perspectives
  • The invention of urban waste in the 19th century
  • Geography and economics of waste in the 20th century
  • Garbage and pollution in the contemporary city
  • The specificity of contemporary waste (plastics, electronic waste)

Learning Outcomes

  • Critically read press and academic articles in the humanities and social sciences, in French and in English
  • Identify the social, environmental, economic, and political issues on the management of waste


Grade = 100% knowledge Grade Knowledge = 60% final exam + 40% ongoing assessment