Date and location

  •   September 25, 2019 - September 27, 2019

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Conference details

  • Jean-Paul Addie, Georgia State University, USA,
  • Jen Nelles, Hunter College CUNY, USA
  • Michael Glass, University of Pittsburgh, USA

These special sessions will formally launch the RSA Research Network on Infrastructural Regionalisms (NOIR). Analyzing regions through infrastructure provides a novel perspective on the regional question as investment and disinvestment in infrastructure reveals vital discursive and material elements that produce, structure, and modify metropolitan regions worldwide. Regional infrastructure is the often-overlooked element that binds contemporary strategies from the resurgence of neo-Keynesian economic development programs arising from the Global Financial Crisis and the frenzied bidding by North American cities for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2) to China’s $900 billion Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. The development of infrastructural assets – ranging from transport and telecommunications to energy and sanitation – as part of regional policies raises fundamental questions about how the funding, governance, and spatiality of such infrastructure can promote urban, economic, and ecological sustainability at the regional scale. In sum, NOIR intends to reflect the increased conceptual, geographic, and political importance of infrastructure, and signal the endemic crises of access (social space), expertise (technology), and resources (governance) that the varied provision of infrastructures within regions can cause.

We welcome papers engaging research at the intersection of urban infrastructure and regional studies, and participation by researchers interested in engaging with the RSA Network over the next three years (2019-2022). In launching NOIR, we aim to situate and problematize the Research Network’s key questions and concepts by (non-exhaustively) interrogating:

  • How do we study, and thus produce knowledge of, regions through infrastructure?
  • How are decisions on infrastructure made and regionalized?
  • Who develops regional infrastructural visions and how are their spatial imaginaries legitimized?
  • What technologies of power and infrastructure arrangements concretize the region?
  • What types of infrastructure are more amenable to/successful at the regional scale?
  • Who benefits, and is excluded, from regional infrastructural formations?
  • In what ways do state and non-state actors adopt a regional infrastructure politics?
  • How do infrastructure issues shape regional imaginaries and interpolate regional political subjects?
  • How can key actors shift from producing an infrastructural region ‘in itself’ to a region ‘for itself’?
  • How are the dynamics of ‘power over’ and ‘power to’ articulated through regional infrastructural politics?