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Science, Technology, and Society Program, Political Studies Program, Environmental and Urban Studies Program, and Anthropology Program present

Premodern Technopolitics? Empire and Infrastructure in the Inka Cloud Forest

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Infrastructure has recently emerged as core site for innovative research in anthropology, and within the social sciences in general. Much of this work has sought to analyze infrastructures from a technopolitical perspective, whereby there is no a priori distinction to be made between technological artifacts and political projects, with both seen as being inscribed in the other from the very beginning. This talk considers the interpretive possibilities that arise when a technopolitical account is given of pre-modern infrastructure, drawing on the archaeological case of Inka highways in the pre-colonial Andes. It also considers the pitfalls in seeking to translate such analytical frames across modern and non-modern worlds, arguing that in the end, a technopolitical approach must always rely on modernist categories to some degree, even as it seeks to critique them.

Darryl Wilkinson is an archaeological anthropologist whose research addresses the themes of materiality, power and indigenous ontologies in the ancient Andes. He received his PhD from Columbia in 2013, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Cultural Analysis and a member of the 'Objects and Environments' research seminar at Rutgers University. His research has been published in the journals World Archaeology and the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

For more information, call 845-758-6822 x7201, or e-mail sstamato@bard.edu.

Location: Olin, Room 202