Call for Papers: Infrastructural Racism Workshop

Image of hand raise with ESALA, CDCS and RACE.ED logos on top
Image from Unsplash

CDCS is pleased to be working with ESALA and RACE.ED to support Phase 1 of the Racial Infrastructures Project.

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). The Racial Infrastructures project's first phase will start with a workshop aiming to contribute to this growing body of scholarship and establish conversations that push critical thinking on the relationship between infrastructural systems, materials and arrangements and systemic racism.

On 30th and 31st March 2021, the workshop will bring together scholars from across the University of Edinburgh who are interested in analysing infrastructures through theories of race, racialization and coloniality/decoloniality. Contributions from staff and PhD students are welcomed. The workshop will encourage interdisciplinary conversations and collaborations and seek to expand critiques of the relations between infrastructure (in its manifold iterations) and racism/racial oppression. It will also seek to develop decolonial approaches to engaging with, contesting and reimaging infrastructure.

Colleagues are invited to present short papers (max 10 minutes) highlighting their existing research and the ways in which their work contributes to the workshop’s themes and aims. The deadline for submissions is 15 January, 2021

Particularly welcome are contributions that address, but are not limited to, some of the following questions:

  • What can an infrastructural perspective contribute to studies of racism and racialisation
  • What do critical race perspectives reveal about and add to our understandings of infrastructure?
  • What unspoken racial assumptions go into the design, functioning and maintenance of infrastructural systems?
  • How do infrastructures contribute to and/or facilitate racialised processes of dispossession, marginalisation, incarceration?
  • How do racial infrastructural inequities exist alongside other vectors of difference (class, caste, immigration status, gender, (dis)ability, sexuality)?
  • How can infrastructures and anti-racist praxes be combined?
  • What alternative examples, imaginations and practices exist that challenge hegemonic, colonial forms of infrastructure?
  • How can we develop and incorporate indigenous and decolonial praxes into the design, building and imagining of infrastructures?

If you are interested in participating, please submit a 150-250 word abstract outlining your proposed contribution to the workshop to

Led by a Steering Committee comprising Shaira Vadasaria, Karen Gregory, Morgan Currie, Sepideh Karami, Aidan Mosselson and Kate Miltner, the Racial Infrastructures project aims more broadly to

  • Bring together scholars from across schools and disciplines at UoE
  • Establish an interdisciplinary community and ongoing conversation
  • Inaugurate a seminar series/series of presentations
  • Work towards a joint publication (blog/website/digital magazine).