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Call for Applications: 4th Vienna Ethnography Laboratory „Infrastructures: Imagination, Materiality, Process“ (Vienna, 26.–28.09.2018)

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Department for African Studies of the University of Vienna invite applications for the 4th Vienna Ethnography Lab „Infrastructures: Imagination, Materiality, Process“ which will take place from 26th to 28th September 2018 in Vienna.

Since the new material turn, infrastructures have attracted increasing attention in various fields of the social sciences and humanities. Despite their apparent contextfree objective and timeless logic, historical development and temporality matters in how infrastructures are appropriated and what meanings get attached to them. Thereby infrastructures do not only feed into local practices of appropriation but also into imaginations as well as the formation of new socialities or differentiation, producing in- and exclusion. Infrastructures allow for certain forms of exchange and mobility while preventing others. Infrastructures influence the way space is experienced and have the capacity to generate hope and anxiety as well as fear and anger. They feed into visions of the future as they are translated into policies. This has been most obvious in (post)colonial policies that set out to produce “modern” subjects through “urban” infrastructures but this is an ongoing process. The appropriation of infrastructures in everyday life, as well as their failure or decay, can transform political structures. Presented as “public good”, infrastructures also can be signifiers of the boundaries between public and private, state and market or of more general power hierarchies.

The laboratory’s goal is to provide a forum for intensive interdisciplinary discussions of young scholars’ ongoing or recently completed research. Discussions will focus on imagination and materiality of infrastructures as processes of appropriation, translation and decline in contexts spanning different historical times and geographical spaces. Possible examples include (but are not limited to): infrastructural violence; public health infrastructures; (post)colonial housing; megaprojects; energy transportation; mobilities and immobilites through infrastructures; urban and rural planning; fluidity and precarity of infrastructures; infrastructures, representation and media.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2017.

For more information, check the full Call for Applications.

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