"Incitements of Infrastructure," Panel for the AAA Annual Meeting in Chicago
Call for Papers Date:
This panel uses ethnography to map emergent publics as generated and ordered by what geographer Nigel Thrift calls “expressive infrastructures”. These infrastructures inhere in the modulation, concentration and pre-emption of affective potentials inherent in a host of sites—bodies, events, material objects or landscapes—and create ecologies that foster particular publics across and between people and things. Sometimes these ecologies bleed out of the designs of contemporary capitalism; sometimes they work as a kind of undergrowth in and through everyday life, a nesting ground that creates a sense of place or events.
Inspired by non-representational theories of vitalism, affect and materiality, we build upon anthropology’s recent attunement to the immanent and the inchoate as a series of linkages or frissons made possible by the infrastructural girding of publics. These phenomena are deeply implicated in political concerns, with multiple forms of domination or control exerted at varying scales and by variegated actors. Through thick descriptions of these publics, this panel asks how politics might be written beyond representational meanings that inhere in fixed identities and stable expressions. Rather than bracketing such infrastructures and the atmospheres they generate in terms of meaning alone, we would like to attend more to their generative aspects, including blockades, attrition or dissipation. As such, we take seriously the active fabulation inherent in nimble modes of ethnographic writing that tries to match the rapid pace with which ecologies can congeal in space or vanish out of sight.
Please submit an abstract of 250 words to Elizabeth Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday, April 12. We welcome scholars with diverse thematic and geographical interests who are excited to engage closely with the theoretical questions at hand.
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