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2019 RSA North America Conference Special Sessions

The organisers encourage joining special sessions, themed workshops and innovative forms of networking and collaboration. As part of the 2019 Annual Conference, participants can submit their abstracts to Special Sessions listed below. Special Sessions are a great way to bring together presenters to discuss and highlight a particular topic and to develop or further extend your network.

There are two types of Special Sessions:

Open Special Session – the session organiser proposes the topic and provides a short description/ call for submissions. Delegates can submit their abstract for this session when they register for the conference. Closed Session – the session organiser proposes the complete session including all speakers. Other delegates may not submit their abstracts for this session.

Both sessions are open to all delegates to attend as an audience member

  • SS1. Defining the Terrains of Regional Infrastructure

  • SS1. Defining the Terrains of Regional Infrastructure

    Session Organiser(s) 

    • 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?


    If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words via the RSA platform by 16th April 2019.

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