13 Oak Dr., Hamilton, NY 13346

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Join us for a presentation on "Livability under Siege: Infrastructure's Everyday Worlds." 

This talk draws on longterm fieldwork for two book projects, one based in Palestine and the other based in Greece, to make the case for thinking about the strategies people use to mitigate besieging circumstances through questions about infrastructure. The talk begins with stories of  "waste siege" in the occupied West Bank to show how waste and its infrastructures become braided into people’s senses of ethics, self, and possibilities for alternative futures. It then crosses the Mediterranean, following Israeli and Palestinian investors in Athens apartments into stories of Greek homes that have been turned into Airbnb listings as a mode of maintaining partial attachments under prolonged austerity, a process of  "controlled alienation." Together, these two projects offer answers to two main questions that animate the work of Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins, an associate professor of anthropology at Bard College: How do destructive conditions—be they ecological, political, or economic—remake socialities and relations? And how do people harness the material and semiotic properties of infrastructures to make their everyday lives workable—that is, livable—under conditions of duress?

Stamatopoulou-Robbins' interests include infrastructure, waste, environment, platform capitalism, and the home. Her first book, Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine (Stanford, 2019), has won five major book awards and examines waste management in the absence of a state. Her current book, Controlled Alienation: Airbnb and the Future of Home (under contract with Duke), explores the joint world-making of austerity and home-sharing in Greece. She serves on the editorial teams of Cultural Anthropology and Middle East Research and Information Report (MERIP). More on her scholarship and film-making can be found here: https://sophiastamatopoulourobbins.com/.

This event is part of the 2022-23 PCON Lecture Series "Infrastructures of Peace and Conflict" and is being cosponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program. 

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