NBN Classic: Josh Reno, “Military Waste: The Unexpected Consequences of Permanent War Readiness” (U California Press, 2019)

This episode proved remarkably popular, so we’re reposting it as an NBN classic for those who missed it the first time.

Seven decades of military spending during the cold war and war on terror have created a vast excess of military hardware – what happens to all of this military waste when it has served its purpose and what does it tell us about militarism in American culture? Josh Reno’s Military Waste: The Unexpected Consequences of Permanent War Readiness (University of California Press, 2019), explores the myriad afterlives of military waste and the people who witness, interpret, manipulate, and reimagine them.

In this episode of New Books in Anthropology, he talks to host Jacob Doherty about how engineers within the military industrial complex conceptualize waste, how artists try to demilitarize surplus air force planes, how near earth orbit has filled up with the debris, and how militarized culture shapes the way we understand mass shootings.

Josh Reno is an associate professor of anthropology at Binghampton University and the author of Waste Away.

Jacob Doherty is a lecturer in the anthropology of development at the University of Edinburgh.

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