ANSO135 | Autumn | 3 ECTS

Concrete Politics: The Anthropology of Infrastructures and Development

Course dates: (S1) Wednesday 11 November and Thursday 12 November 14:15-18:00, (S1) Wednesday 18 November 14:15-18:00 and Thursday 19 November 14:15-16:00 This course investigates the various ways in which anthropology seeks to apprehend the built environment as materialising political projects and forms of power and control, but also as technologies of enchantment and objects of desire and aspiration. We also examine the flipside of such projects, and the affective charge of buildings as melancholic objects of ruination, materialising the debris of capitalism and collapsed futures. Students should come out with a firm knowledge of the political potency of infrastructures and the different analytical approaches to make sense of them. We will look at roads, ports/airports, power plants and dams, as well as urban housing projects, and reflect on the different methods through which we can analyse them. We'll think about the rise of Dubai Modernity and World Class cities by looking at ambitious urban development projects such as the construction of 'new centralities', grand 'waterfronts', and new metro lines. We'll also look at the material and aesthetic qualities of different building materials like wood, stone and cement, and at the techno-politics of service infrastructures such as electricity, water, and sewage.