Politics of Infrastructure

Schools of Public Engagement: International Affairs

Non-Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Degree Students
Politics of Infrastructure
Spring 2023
Taught By: Antina von Schnitzler
Section: A

CRN: 13900

Credits: 3

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 and the geo-political mobilization of infrastructures (as in the war in Ukraine). Readings will be interdisciplinary drawing on science and technology studies, anthropology, political theory and geography.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: International Affairs (NINT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few 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: 10:42am EDT 9/24/2023