Logistics and Infrastructure - InSIS-COMPAS workshop

On 10-11 January, InSIS and COMPAS co-hosted a multi-disciplinary workshop on Logistics and Infrastructure, convened by Sophie Haines and Scott Lash. Participants presented empirical and theoretical work exploring the political economies, ecologies and experiences underpinning movements of materials, migrants, tourists, ideas and data; and discussed the concept of logistification as a way to understand these in the contemporary moment. The paper sessions showcased research into the political stakes of ‘green’ urban development, electricity supply, transnational trading hubs, electrical provision in and Silk Road legacies in China; and raised questions of ecology and economy as they relate to projects seeking to measure and move tea and water through large and small-scale supply systems in Africa and Central America respectively. Nicole Starosielski’s forecast of the end of the internet mobilised a provocative speculative genre, connecting climate change impacts to the physical and legal susceptibilities of internet infrastructure that presage political and environmental apocalypse. Maurizio Lazzarato emphasized the danger of today’s logistics as a war mobilization. Laura Bear called for attention to the specificities of power structured from the ruins of public works and the speculatory economy.

The conversations among scholars and activists across anthropology, cultural theory, geography, STS and media studies generated new ideas and collaborations about forms of logistification, counter-logistics, and political economies and ecologies of circulation, visibility, aesthetics, ethics and the inter-connectedness of nature, war, and capital.