Critical Infrastructures - Nation, Migration, Zirkulation

Nanna Heidenreich
Art Sciences and Art Education, Transcultural Studies
2021S, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03734

Description

Please note: the main language of the course is German. However, a lot of the reading materials will be in English (with some in German too). The course then will allow for different language skills: if you can follow discussion and read in German but feel more secure to discuss in English, you are welcome to join the course. The final paper can also be written in English.

Since the 1960s, infrastructure has had a steep career. A term, as historian Dirk van Laack argues in his study Imperiale Infrastruktur (2004), "that combines the authority of Latin with the signaling effect of scientific-technical vocabulary" and suggests that it is simply about technology and administration and is characterized by the expectation of progress and continued growth as well as an instrumental relationship to natural resources. The concept's remarkable career in the 20th century (including in so-called development policy) is preceded by a relatively short history of the term, beginning in the late 19th century with French railroad construction and subsequently inextricably linked to colonial spatial appropriation as well as the spatial organization not only of the empire but also of the nation-state. Today, in the 21st century, this history is expanding to include new aspects, such as the increasing importance of logistics, distrubution, and circulation in contemporary capitalism. For example, Deb Cowen writes in The Deadly Life of Logistics (2014), "Circulation, in other words, has become a part of the production process itself" and "it has fundamentally restructured capitalist accumulation." Issue 23 of the Journal of Media Studies asks about the "ordering character" of circulations and the infrastructural trajectories that guide them. This is also reflected in the recently formed "Critical Infrastructure Studies," which includes approaches from media cultural studies, feminist theories (such as Karen Barad), digital humanities, ethnographies (here centrally Susan Leigh Star), migration studies (Manuela Bojadzijev, Sandro Mezzadra), postcolonial critique, STS (Science Technology Studies), waste management, economics, and approaches of posthumanism, environmental studies, studies on (media) ecologies (e.g. John Durham Peters, Jussi Parikka, among others) as well as research on the logistification of capitalism. Critical Infrastructure Studies is first concerned with transforming the supposed invisibility of facilities of supply and disposal, transportation, and communication in everyday life into critical visibility (see, among others, Nicole Starosielski, Lisa Parks, Keller Easterling, Paul N. Edwards), and finally to focus attention on interruptions, on "chokepoints" (Cowen), on resistances, on breakdowns, and on makeshift repairs and strategies of improvisation (Brian Larkin), as well as on precarity and (neo-)coloniality of infrastructures.

The seminar will adress some of these questions and approaches. This includes visualizations and artistic works that deal, for example, with infrastructural megalomania (such as Heba Y. Amin's "Operation Drunken Sea") or the cartographies of global infrastructures (as in Nicole Starosielski's transmedial project "Surfacing"). The prerequisite for participation is the willingness to engage in intensive discussion and to do research and engage thoroughly with the reading material (texts in German & English). The seminar will take into account students different disciplinary backgrounds .

 

Examination Modalities

Reading materials and examination modalities will be announced at the beginning of the semester.

Comments

The class will be held online in Zoom

Dates

11 March 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)
25 March 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)
15 April 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)
29 April 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)
06 May 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)
27 May 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)
10 June 2021, 10:00–13:00 Distance Learning (details as described)

Course Enrolment

From 31 January 2021, 10:00 to 11 March 2021, 10:00
Via online registration

co-registration: possible

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Art Education: subject dae (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject dae (additional subject): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Seminar aus dem Bereich Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

Art Education: subject dae (additional subject): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

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Art Education: subject dex (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: IT: Bachelorseminar Wissenschaftliche Praxis

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Art Education: subject dex (additional subject): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Seminar aus dem Bereich Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

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