The Nature of Infrastructure

Drinking hole in Lesotho highlands. Photo by Colin Hoag.
Watering hole in Lesotho highlands. Photo by Colin Hoag.
The concept of infrastructure draws attention to as-yet-unseen synergies between technology, culture, and materiality. What does this concept have to offer environmental anthropology? While we can safely say that infrastructures shape the natural world, they surely do so in ways particular to their times and places. This Engagement blog thematic series seeks to shed light on the heterogeneity of infrastructures—their forms and effects—as seen through the anthropology of the environment. What might the particularity of infrastructures, including their materials, their scales, or the ecologies in which they work, tell us about the human condition? For a sub-field long interested in the organization of socio-natural systems, from Balinese subaks to the Nuer rangelands, what is new about the infrastructure concept? This thematic series engages with those questions, with commentaries by Ashley Carse and Bettina Stoetzer.

Series Posts:

Part I
Between Obsolescence and Necessity: The Abiding Nature of Dhalao Infrastructures in Urban India
by Aman Luthra, Johns Hopkins University
Natural Infrastructures: Sediment, Science, and the Future of Southeast Louisiana
by
Monica Barra, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Tactics of Power and Empowerment in Knowledge-Making Infrastructures
by Kirk Jalbert, FracTracker Alliance and Drexel University
On Rust
by Stephanie McCallum, University of California at Santa Cruz
Silo as System: Infrastructural Interventions into the Political Economy of Wheat
by Ateya Khorakiwala, Harvard University
An “Ecological Path” in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park: On the Reflexivity of Oil Infrastructure:
by Peter Taber, University of Arizona
Commentary:
The Anthropology of the Built Environment: What Can Environmental Anthropology Learn from Infrastructure Studies (and Vice Versa)?
by
Ashley Carse, Vanderbilt University
Part II
Choosing Paths, Not Roads
by
Madhuri Karak, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
In the Sand: Water, Land, and Infrastructure in Informality
by
Angela Storey, University of Arizona
Walking over Water: Piers, Docks, and Coastal Infrastructure
by
Barbara Quimby, San Diego State & University of California at Santa Barbara
Excavating the Chesapeake: Exploring the Intersecting Geological, Political, and Technical Layers that Constitute a Watershed
by Jeremy Trombley
, University of Maryland, College Park
Infrastructural Recursions: Volcanic Landscapes, Instability and Energy Production
by James Maguire
, IT University of Copenhagen
Commentary:
Infrastructure – Peripheral Visions and Bodies that Matter: A Commentary
by
Bettina Stoetzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Read the original call for posts here.