This panel will explore the intersections between infrastructure, power, and human lives as historical and ethnographic phenomena. By organizing conversation around the concept of “attachments,” the panel probes both infrastructures’ coercive capacities – whether material or ideational – and the affective, sensorial, embodied, or aspirational relationships people forge with infrastructures. The panel takes up the conference theme “Imagining Africa at the Center” by focusing on how makers, users, and mediators of infrastructure have created, refashioned, discarded, and neglected technologies, as they have traveled across time and space. We conceive of infrastructure broadly—roads and transportation, sewage and water, electricity, city landscapes and architecture, mobile phones, photography and cameras, radio, television and internet, health and medicine. We encourage papers that explore these technologies (and their supporting infrastructures) as they articulate with domains conventionally associated with affect and “the social”: kinship and friendship, desire and disaffection, aspiration and aversion, pleasure and pain.

We welcome abstracts (not more than 200 words) dealing with all regions and in any discipline, especially history, anthropology, architecture and urban planning, urban studies, science and technology studies, sociology, and literature.

If you have any questions about this panel, or would like to submit an abstract, please contact: Tasha Rijke-Epstein, [email protected] by Friday, March 11, 2016.