UTSC (SCL) job talk

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Date(s) - 16/01/2018
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Waqas Butt, Ph.D Candidate, Sociocultural Anthropology, University of California – San Diego

“Accessing Value in Lahore’s Waste Infrastructures”

Waqas H. Butt is an urban anthropologist at University of California, San Diego whose work focuses on the intersections of caste labor, infrastructures, and development across urban South Asia. His long-term ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in Lahore, has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. He has published his research in academic journals such as CITY and newspapers and magazines in Pakistan. Bringing anthropological theories of value into conversation with wider discussions of labor, governmentality, and infrastructures, his current project explores the enduring role that caste labor has played in developing Lahore and its waste infrastructures. It re-centers caste labor by approaching this form of work as reproductive in nature and traces the ways in which this form of work, despite being obscured and devalorized, is central to reproduction of urban life. His work examines the consequences that these contradictions have for the wider contours of economic, social, and political life across Pakistan and South Asia. More broadly, this research speaks to how states materialize themselves through the management of their population and spaces, in what ways material things that make up our everyday lives take on or become exhausted of their value, and why the reproduction of life itself depends upon forms of production and work that are highly uneven.

Department of Anthropology, UTSC, Social Sciences Building, Center for Ethnography, Room MW296