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Materiality and the History of Infrastructure HERRENHAUSEN SYMPOSIUM July 20–21, 2022

Veröffentlicht am 15. Juni 2022, 12:26 Uhr

Materiality and the History of Infrastructure HERRENHAUSEN SYMPOSIUM July 20–21, 2022

From bridges, water mains, and large dams to railways, electrical grids, and internet cables - infrastructures are socio-technical systems for which long-lasting material installments are central. They pro-vide social functions such as mobility, exchange, and communication, and they keep human societies, economic systems, and political entities running. They structure everyday life on the most basic level. This Herrenhausen Symposium explores the materiality of infrastructure, which is a fundamental yet understudied dimension for understanding  the human condition. Viewing infrastructure as a “material assemblage,” the Symposium highlights its various relational interactions with humans and non-humans. This adds to ongoing efforts to decentralize human agency.

The focus of the Symposium is directed, but not limi-ted, to the following set of questions: What kinds of construction materials gave rise to new infrastructures? What kind of knowledge have humans developed for the material texture of infrastructure? How have humans adapted to the use and experience of certain materials, and what role did material perceptions and emotions play in this? How have people responded to collapse and material decay? What sources should we analyze and how can we read them against the grain? What theories should we use to analyze the materiality of infrastructure? How can the material history of infrastructures enter into a dialogue with other approaches and disciplines, such as science and technology studies, anthropology, archaeology, and sociology?


Jan Hansen, Los Angeles (jeh_645@usc.edu)
Frederik Schulze, Bielefeld (frederik.schulze@uni-bielefeld.de)

Flyer (pdf)


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