The Promise of Infrastructure

Advanced Seminar, Chairs: Nikhil Anand, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Society, University of Minnesota; Hannah Appel, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, UCLA; Akhil Gupta, Professor, Department of Anthropology, UCLA

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

The Promise of InfrastructureThe Promise of InfrastructureAdvanced Seminar Co-chaired by Nikhil S. Anand, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Society, University of Minnesota; Hannah C. Appel, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles; and Akhil Gupta, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles. Photograph by William Geoghegan.The Promise of InfrastructureAdvanced Seminar Co-chaired by Nikhil S. Anand, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Society, University of Minnesota; Hannah C. Appel, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles; and Akhil Gupta, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles. Photograph by William Geoghegan.Infrastructures are at once technopolitical systems and cultural forms, designed to move people and things. Pipes, roads, and electric grids have long promised modernity to their subjects. That promise is contingent, however, as infrastructure’s assemblages are always haunted by breakdown. This tension between aspiration and failure, technological progress and its underbelly, makes the everyday life of infrastructure a productive location to examine the entanglements of technology and biopolitics in social life. This seminar will draw on ethnographic research to theorize infrastructure as cultural forms and materializations of certain ideas of order and social inequality in cross cultural contexts.
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