CfP American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2021 Annual Conference

CfP American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2021 Annual Conference 


Roads, bridges, dams and ports: what does the turn to infrastructure (both empirical and theoretical) mean for Latin American environmental geographies? 

Dr Jessica Hope & Prof Murat Arsel 

Latin America’s contested environmental geographies remain globally significant, in particular for the negotiation and analysis of predatory extractive frontiers and for fertile decolonising agendas that include claims for territory, plurality and ontological multiplicity. Yet, commitments to new infrastructure both connect and complicate extractive and decolonising agendas, with implications for Latin American political ecologies and their analysis. Plans for new infrastructure include new highways, waterways, railways, ports, dams, and power stations, including in the Amazon basin (Bebbington et al 2020). These plans extend a wider turn to infrastructure-led development (Dodson 2017), support the region’s extractive imperative (Arsel et al 2019) and are entangled with global agendas for sustainable development (Hope 2020).  

Within social science, an infrastructural turn has brought changes to contemporary conceptualisations of infrastructure that go beyond physical materiality to examine infrastructures as a manifestation of social and technological processes (Lemanski 2019:3; Larkin 2013; Von Schnitzler 2008), revealing how infrastructure is implicated in citizenship (Lemanski 2020), post-colonial politics (Cowen 2019; Enns & Bersaglio 2020), authoritarian developmentalism (Arsel et al. forthcoming), and political ecology (Anand 2017; Bebbington 2020; Hope forthcoming). In this session, we invite papers that examine what this turn to infrastructure means, both empirically and theoretically, for our understanding and analysis of Latin American environmental geographies.  

Authors are invited to address some of the following questions: 

  • What do new infrastructures mean for Latin American environmental geographies? 
  • How will they connect, complicate and challenge divergent socio-environmental projects in the region? 
  • How do geographical treatments of infrastructure extend contemporary work on Latin American environmental geographies, for example on sustainable development, extractivism or plurality? 
  • How do infrastructural projects and their contestation shape state-society relationships? 
  • How do the contestation of infrastructural projects shape political subjectivities and in which ways do these subjectivities differ in rural and urban spheres? 
  • To what extent Latin American infrastructural debates differ from similar dynamics observed elsewhere in the world, including in the Global North? 

Please send a 250 word abstract and brief bio to Jessica Hope ( by Monday October 26th 2020, so accepted abstracts can be submitted directly to the AAG by Oct 28th.  

Anand, N., (2017). Hydraulic city: Water and the infrastructures of citizenship in Mumbai. Duke University Press. 

Arsel, M., Adaman, F., Saad Filho, A. (forthcoming) Authoritarian developmentalism: Latest stage of 

neoliberalism? Geoforum. 

Arsel, M., Pellegrini, L., & Mena, C. (2019). Maria’s paradox: oil extraction and the misery of missing 

development alternatives in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In Shaffer, P., Kanbur, R., & Sandbrook, R. (Eds). (2019). Immiserizing Growth: When Growth Fails the Poor. Oxford University Press, pp. 203-225. 

Bebbington, A., Chicchon, A., Cuba, N., Greenspan, E., Hecht, S., Bebbington, D.H., Kandel, S., Osborne, T., Ray, R., Rogan, J. and Sauls, L., (2020). Opinion: Priorities for governing large-scale infrastructure in the tropics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences117(36), pp.21829-21833. 

Cowen, D., 2019. Following the infrastructures of empire: Notes on cities, settler colonialism, and method. Urban Geography, pp.1-18. 

Dodson, J., (2017). The global infrastructure turn and urban practice. Urban Policy and Research35(1), pp.87-92. 

Enns, C. and Bersaglio, B., (2020). On the Coloniality of “New” Mega‐Infrastructure Projects in East Africa. Antipode52(1), pp.101-123. 

Hope, J., (2020). The anti‐politics of sustainable development: Environmental critique from assemblage thinking in Bolivia. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Hope, J. (forthcoming) Driving Development in the Amazon: extending infrastructural citizenship with political ecology in BoliviaEnvironment and Planning E 

Lemanski, C., (2019). Infrastructural citizenship: The everyday citizenships of adapting and/or destroying public infrastructure in Cape Town, South Africa. Transactions of the Institute of British geographers

Lemanski, C., (2020). Infrastructural citizenship:(de) constructing state–society relations. International Development Planning Review42(2). 

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