A panel organized by the Public Humanities Post-Harvey Think Tank through Rice University’s Humanities Research Center with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Thursday, January 24, 2019, 5:30 pm
Herring Hall, 100, Rice University
(Rice University announcement with additional details)
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As Houston rebuilds in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we find that our vision of infrastructure, whether gray or green, is defined almost exclusively in terms of civil engineering and the social sciences. The task of reimagininging cities like Houston in the age of climate catastrophe demands humanistic perspectives, both to critique core assumptions of and to provide alternative visions for our common existence. This joint public talk with Alan Liu and James Smithies introduces the emergent, interdisciplinary field of “Critical Infrastructure Studies” and considers the institutional dimensions of the public humanities and higher education, in order to help articulate how the humanities can critically and productively contribute to public debates on topics such as “preparedness,” “resiliency,” “disaster,” and “infrastructure.”
Resources 1 (for John Mulligan’s talk)
The following is a partial bibliography of the Public Humanities Post-Harvey Think Tank group’s readings, followed by works cited in the introduction to the group’s white paper featured in John Mulligan’s talk. (Some of these resources are accessible only to the group.)
Alan Liu, “Knowledge in the Age of Knowledge Work,” Profession (2012) 204-15.
James Smithies, The Digital Humanities and the Digital Modern (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
Resources 2 (for Alan Liu’s talk)
The following are works cited in Alan’s talk as examples of various approaches to critical infrastructure studies. Alan’s talk finishes with mentions of two case studies of information infrastructure inflected by the specific institutional perspectives of the humanities, arts, or the university: the Mukurtu content management system and Jer Thorp’s “All the Names: Algorithmic Design and the 9/11 Memorial.”
Approaches to Infrastructure Studies (see also the full CIstudies.org bibliography)
Science technology studies (STS)
Urban Planning, Landscape Design, Architectural
Logistics & Waste Studies
Environmental (in connection with the approaches of energy, mining, oil, transportation, and related studies)
Media infrastructures & Materialities of information
Race & Ethnicity
Postcolonial & colonial
Disability & accessibility studies
Literary & artistic
Security (risk society, mission-critical, and disaster infrastructure studies)
Resources 3 (for James Smithies’s Talk)
The following are works cited in James’s talk. Included is the diagram he discusses from his book, The Digital Humanities and the Digital Modern (p. 132).
Millar, Paul, Christopher Thomson, James Smithies, and Jennifer Middendorf. “The Challenge, the Project, and the Politics: Lessons from Six Years of the UC CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive.” In Crisis and Disaster in Japan and New Zealand – Actors, Victims and Ramifications. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
Smithies, James, Paul Millar, and Christopher Thomson. “Open Principles, Open Data: The Design Principles and Architecture of the UC CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquakes Digital Archive.” Journal of the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities 1, no. 1 (2015): 10–36.
Hu, Tung-Hui. ‘Data Centers and Data Bunkers’, in A Prehistory of the Cloud. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2015, pp.79-110.
Smithies, James. ‘The Challenge of the Digital Humanities’, in The Digital Humanities and the Digital Modern. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp.1-15.
_____________. ‘Towards a Systems Analysis of the Humanities’, in The Digital Humanities and the Digital Modern. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp.113-151.
Koselleck, Reinhart. ‘Modernity and the Planes of Historicity’, in Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time. Columbia University Press, 2004, pp.9-25.
Robert Rosenberger and Peter-Paul Verbeek, ‘Introduction’, Postphenomenological Investigations: Essays on Human-Technology Relations. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015, pp.1-9.
Liu, Alan. ‘Introduction’, in Friending the Past. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2018, pp.1-8.
Hayles, Katherine. ‘Nonconscious Cognitions: Humans and others’, in Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2017, pp.9-41.
Rothko, Mark. ‘The Integrity of the Plastic Process’, in The Artist’s Reality. Yale University Press, 2004, pp.14-18.