The Pleasures of Teaching Plastic
|Title:||The Pleasures of Teaching Plastic|
|Published In:||Edge Effects|
As a material that compels us to rethink the relationship between nature and artifice, subject and object, and surface and depth, plastic is a natural ally to queer and feminist politics. What happens when we connect environmental critiques of synthetic plastic material with cultural analyses of plastic aesthetics and philosophical studies of biological neuroplasticity? How do plastic subjects and objects negotiate the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and species? What do eco-critics and identity theorists have to say to each other about queer subversions of naturalized nature? And how can we work together to save the planet? This public essay, which also features images of my students' multimedia projects, reflects upon a seminar I developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison called "PLASTIC! Surface, Substance, Selfie" and theorizes plastic identities, environments, bodies, aesthetics, and materials like styrofoam, silicone, and glitter.