Racial Infrastructures Workshop

  • -

  • 30 March: 1.15pm - 8pm
    31 March: 1.15pm - 8pm

  • Online

Please note that this event is provided for University of Edinburgh staff and students.

The study of infrastructure is united by an understanding that infrastructure, as much as it is technological and material, is inherently social. Scholars are increasingly paying attention to the ways in which infrastructural systems intersect with and extend racial discrimination and inequality (for example, Bledsoe, 2019; Cowen, 2019; Deitz and Meehan, 2019; Kimari and Ernstson, 2020).

This workshop will contribute to this growing body of scholarship and establish conversations that push critical thinking on the relationships between infrastructural systems, materials and arrangements and systemic racism.

Unfolding over two days, the workshop will feature presentations from UoE staff and cover a broad range of topics, including (but not confined to) Edinburgh’s imperial legacies; security, surveillance and migration management; efforts to rethink infrastructures from indigenous perspectives; urban space and the reproduction of social divisions; and the role education systems play in perpetuating racialised inequalities. Please join us for what promises to be a challenging, productive conversation.

Hosted by Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), the Centre for Data, Culture & Society (CDCS) and RACE.ED.

Steering Committee: Shaira Vadasaria (RACE.ED), Karen Gregory, Morgan Currie, Kate Miltner (CDCS) Killian Doherty, Sepideh Karami, Tolu Onabolu, Aidan Mosselson (ESALA)


Day One: Tuesday 30 March

Legacies, knowledge, technology and infrastructural future-making

Session 1: Talks

13:15-13:30: Welcome

13:30-15:00: Slavery and Imperial Legacies into the present

  • Imperial Landscapes, Imperial Legacies, Kirsten Carter McKee
  • An Ethnographic Study of the Imagined Futures Entangled in the Sutherland Spaceport Development, Lee Mcneish
  • Rethinking the Plantation Complex, Tolu Onabolu

15:00-15:15: Break

15:15-16:45: Education as racial infrastructure

  • Why are PhD students mostly well-off and white and what can we do about it? Marina Ruiz Sánchez-Oro, Helen Hughes and Kyle Dexter
  • Black Boards and White Spaces: Race, Media, and Communication Infrastructures in Modern Mathematics, Michael Barany
  • Broken Pipeline: Race and American Coding Bootcamps, Kate Miltner

16:45-17:00: Break

17:00-18:30: Technologies, law, governmentality and exclusion

  • Global Security Infrastructures: Risk and Racialised Violence, Gavin Sullivan and Dimitri Van Den Meerssche
  • Zosimos Wasted, Sadistic Landscapes and Global Capital, Tolu Onabolu and Laura Harty
  • The Exclusionary Politics of the EU Settlement Scheme, James Besse

18:30-18:55: Reflections


Session 2: Screening

19:00-20:00: Hostile Environments: a film screening and discussion with Alberta Whittle, hosted by Kirsten Lloyd and Julie-Ann Delaney


Day Two: Wednesday 31 March 

Indigeneity, division and alternative infrastructures

Session 1: Talks

13:15-13:30: Welcome

13:30-15:00: Infrastructure projects, modernisation and racism in African Cities

  • Anti-Black Infrastructures: Dispossession via Formalization in African Popular Transport Systems, Jacob Doherty
  • Racial injustice, lived experience and infrastructure projects in African cities, Betty Mwema
  • Re-colonising Infrastructures: On British Standards in post-independence Nigeria, Liam Ross

15:00-15:15: Break

15:15-16:45: Indigeneity, infrastructure and participatory methodology

  • Afrodescendant Seed Infrastructures: From Dispossession to Reparatory Justice, Marisa Wilson; Sylvia Mitchell; Hugh Johnson; Patricia Northover; Talia Esnard
  • Racial policies, bounded territories in Atacama, Chile, Melisa Miranda Correa
  • Indigenous easements: inhabiting the urbanising vision of Rwanda Nouveau, Killian Doherty

16:45-17:00: Break

17:00-18:30: Urban space, infrastructure and social divisions

  • Covering and uncovering existing infrastructures: Curious Edinburgh, Wezi Mhura & Niki Vermeulen
  • A Troubled City - an introduction into Belfast's post-conflict urban geography, Robbie Gilmore
  • The role of asylum in urban gentrification, Emma Hill and Nasar Meer

18:30-18:55: Reflections

18:55-19:00: Break

Session 2: Keynote Address

19:00-20:00: Dima Srouji, Subterranean Non-Fiction*

* part of ESALA's FRICTIONS public lecture series


The event will be hosted via Microsoft Teams.