Infrastructural Absence: Political Ecology and the Ghosts of Development in Cape Town

Mon, October 3, 2022 3:40 PM - Mon, October 3, 2022 4:40 PM at C204 Snyder Hall

How do we study what is not there? Based upon a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in Cape Town, South Africa, in this talk Dr. Angela Story explores how residents of one informal settlement articulate and frame their exclusion from infrastructural development through the evocation of informality as a place trapped by time and defined by absence. Through discussions of the spectrality of developmental plans that have not come to fruition and the emptiness of post-apartheid promises, she explores absence as a potent political register in which community activism and material praxis converge.
Dr. Angela Storey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Louisville. Her research explores the politics of the built and natural environment of cities, with long-term ethnographic work in Cape Town, South Africa about the intersections of activism, infrastructure, and informality, and in Louisville, KY, with projects about energy insecurity, participatory governance, and community engagement.