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2019 IMES Annual Conference: Infrastructure, New Materialism & the Agency of Objects


IMES 2019 Annual Conference:  INFRASTRUCTURE, NEW MATERIALISM & THE AGENCY OF OBJECTSOur social world has a material basis. Objects and things serve as the connections and containers of life, both enabling and limiting movement, resource distribution and development. Scholars inspired by the material turn across the social sciences and humanities examine how power is located within and acts through infrastructures–transport, energy, buildings, and ecological structures, and how it often intersects with processes of violence and expropriation. This conference presents historic and contemporary academic work centered around the material dimensions of politics and power struggles in the Middle East and North Africa.

Panel 1: Infrastructure and Violence

Ron Smith (Bucknell University), “Manichean Infrastructures of Dispossession: The Siege on Gaza Through a Critical Public Health Lens”

Deen Sharp (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Infrastructure as Violence: Stealing the Future in the Urban Present”

Jeannie Sowers (University of New Hampshire), “Targeting Infrastructure and Health in Yemen”

With discussant Hatim al-Hibri (George Mason University)

Panel 2: Infrastructures of Colonial Power

Pauline Lewis (University of California, Los Angeles), “Ottoman Submarine Cables: Foreign Technology and Local Power in the Last Decades of the Empire”

Nimrod Ben Zeev (University of Pennsylvania), “Of Stone: Race and the Political Ecology of Stone Quarrying in Israel/Palestine, 1948-1960”

Fred Meiton (University of New Hampshire), “The Great Palestinian Divergence”

With discussant Graham Cornwell (George Washington University)

Panel 3: Energy and Renewable Infrastructure

Zachary Davis Cuyler (New York University), “A Better Life for Whom? Oil, Political Economy, and the Terrain of Political Contestation in Lebanon, 1934-1978”

Calvert Jones (University of Maryland), “The Social Effects of Gendered Infrastructures: Evidence from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait”

Ekin Kurtic (Harvard University), “‘Who are we building these infrastructures for?’ Dams and Politics of Sacrifice in Turkey”

With discussant Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou (American University)

Panel 4: Resources and Livelihoods in Morocco, co-sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

Karen Rignall (University of Kentucky), “Towards a Typology of Resource Conflict in Morocco”

Zakia Salime (Rutgers University), “Imider as Enclave of Sovereignty: Gendering Silver Extraction”

David Balgley (Georgetown University), “Between Modernity and Modernization: Governing Land and Labor in the Gharb”

With discussant Mona Atia (George Washington University)