New School for Social Research: Anthropology

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Majors Only


Spring 2021

Taught By: Antina von Schnitzler

Section: A

CRN: 8982

Credits: 3

This course explores the relationship between the political and the technical, with a particular focus on recent work on infrastructure and expertise in the humanities and social sciences. From railroads to communication networks, water pipes and electricity wires, infrastructures and technology have been central to mediating modernity. Rather than neutral means towards more substantive ends, this course approaches infrastructures as networked systems that both shape and are shaped by social life and as such, can open up a broader set of questions in relation to classical questions of political theory, from democracy and citizenship to protest and disagreement. Specifically, we’ll be interested in how infrastructures and technical devices become central to the constitution of political terrains in a context in which the formal political sphere is often de facto inaccessible to many. The course begins by examining the historical relationship between infrastructure, technology and power via studies of colonial infrastructures, Cold War technopolitics and the centrality of infrastructure and technology in projects of development and modernization. We will then explore contemporary instances of technopolitics, from climate change expertise and the protests surrounding extractive infrastructures to the technopolitical questions laid bare by COVID-19. Readings will focus on theory that has influenced the “infrastructural turn” and draw on science and technology studies, anthropology, political theory and geography.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Anthropology (GANT)

Campus: Online (DL)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 19

Add/Drop Deadline: February 8, 2021 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 13, 2021 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:55am 7/1/2021 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 1/19/2021 - 5/4/2021