It might seem that recycling was invented by environmentalists in the 1970s, but throughout history people have tried to find new uses for things that others discarded. In his book “Waste into Weapons: Recycling in Britain During the Second World War,” UNC Charlotte history professor Peter Thorsheim shows that recycling played a surprisingly important role during World War II.
While recycling was essential for national survival, it tended to alienate as much as to unite the British public. Salvage efforts linked civilians to the war, served to focus their efforts and helped them make sense of events and their role in the conflict. But the efforts led to infringements of civil liberties, destruction of historical artifacts and damage to private property. Unlike the 1970s movement, “Waste into Weapons” shows how recycling was a means to further destruction, not conservation.
Join a conversation about this little-known episode in environmental history and its relevance today with Thorsheim at Personally Speaking, the author/researcher series presented by UNC Charlotte’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, J. Murrey Atkins Library and UNC Charlotte Center City.
The conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, at UNC Charlotte Center City. A book signing and reception will follow.
Personally Speaking lectures are open to the public without charge, but RSVPs are required. Parking is complimentary with a special event permit at 422 E. 9th Street, directly across Brevard Street from UNC Charlotte Center City. More parking information will be sent later by email.
Thorsheim, an expert on British history in the 19th and 20th centuries, has served as interim director of graduate studies, faculty resident director of the University study abroad program at London’s Kingston University and a member of the American Historical Association's Forkosch Prize committee for the best book in British history.
This is the last of the four Personally Speaking conversations for the current academic year. The lecturers for the 2017-18 Personally Speaking series will be announced at this event.