Photo: Abraham Barrera

Prof. Hilde De Weerdt will chair a roundtable discussion titled Critical Approaches to Material and Virtual Infrastructures at the Annual Conferece of the Association for Asian Studies in Seattle. This roundtable brings together scholars who have been working on material and digital infrastructures from a variety of disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological perspectives.
Across the social sciences and humanities, from urban studies, sociology, anthropology, regional studies, to archaeology, history, and digital humanities, there has been a recent discussion of an "infrastructural turn" that considers infrastructures not only as objects of study, but also as theoretical perspectives and methodologies. Panelists will discuss how this turn has manifested itself in their respective fields. They will also be asked to consider the relationship of infrastructural development to colonial and imperialist projects, and to ask how infrastructures have intervened in and reshaped local, regional, and transregional interactions; how they have been historically and currently constructed and used to include and exclude social groups; how newer and older infrastructures have expanded and contracted in relation to each other; why infrastructural projects have failed; and what lessons researchers have learned from working on, in, and around them.