Robin Nagle's speeches focus on her anthropological research on waste. She has worked as a resident anthropologist in New York City's Department of Sanitation since 2006. Her research focuses on the labor component and urban infrastructural necessities behind waste systems. She is also interested in the ways in which trash shapes metropolitan contexts, from literal urban formation and expansion to health laws associated with garbage collection and street cleanliness. Nagle has enlisted help from her colleagues at NYU and DSNY in order to create a Wall of Honor to commemorate sanitation workers that were killed on the job, organize the departments archives and eventually create a sanitation museum.
Nagle has written a book about her first-hand experience working in the sanitation industry confronting stigma and invisibility associated with the job. The book, set to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is titled 'Picking Up.' Nagle also serves as the director for NYU's Draper Interdisciplinary Master's program in humanities and social thought.