Infrastructure and Gender – readings and tasks

August 22, 2018

In advance of each seminar meeting you are required to read at least one of the key essays closely. In your blog post (composed of line drawing and text) you are to respond carefully to an argument, detail or concept in the text that you believe is critically valuable (you do not need to respond to the whole text or summarise it in detail). The further readings are provided for those who want to read beyond the key texts. You are also encouraged to bring in other references that you have found relevant. The idea is to incrementally build up an account of the infrastructural site you have chosen to care about during this seminar. When using concepts and arguments that you have discovered in the readings, try and relate them to the material relations and specific details of your chosen site. Use your site as a lens through which to engage in the readings. Except for our first introductory meeting, the blog posts need to be uploaded in advance of our seminar meetings, so we can use them in our class discussions.


Frichot, Hélène, How to Make Yourself a Feminist Design Power Tool, Baunach AADR, 2016.

Frichot, Hélène, Gabrielsson, Catharina, Runting, Helen, eds. Architecture and Feminisms: Ecologies, Economies, Technologies, London: Routledge, 2018. (copy of the introduction attached)

Reisinger, Karin and Schalk, Meike, eds. Styles of Queer Feminist Practices and Objects in Architecture, special issue Architecture and Culture vol. 5, 2017.

Reisinger, Karin and Schalk, Meike, eds. Becoming a feminist Architect, in a special issue of Field: A Free Journal for Architecture, vol 7, 1, 2017.

Schalk, Meike, Mazé, Ramia, Kristiansson, Thérèse, eds. Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice, Baunach: AADR, 2017.

Wednesday 12 September– Introduction 13.00-15.00 (for all Masters and AD236V participants and 15.30-17.00 (for participants in AD236V)

  1. Gendered Infrastructures

Ross Exo Adams, ‘Becoming-Infrastructural’ in positions e-flux, 2 October 2017.

Keller Easterling, ‘An Internet of Things’, in e-flux #31 January, 2012.

Further Readings

Pierre Bélanger, ‘Redefining Infrastructure’ in Pierre Bélanger, Landscape as Infrastructure, London: Routledge, 2016, 116-155.

Dane Carlson, ‘The Humanity of Infrastructure: Landscape as Operative Ground’ in Scenario Journal, Spring 2013.

Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space, New York: Verso Books, 2014. Excerpt.

Rachel M. Magee, Melinda Sebastian, Susan Wiedenbeck, Jennifer A. Rode, ‘Gendering Infrastructure’ in CHI 2011, May 7-12, 2011.

Jennifer A. Rode, Melinda Sebastian, Rachel Magee, Nora McDonald and Sean Goggins ‘Does Infrastructure have Gender? Third Order Dilemmas’ in ALTCHI, 2012.

Katrina Stoll and Scott Lloyd ‘Introduction: Performance as Form’ in Katrina Stoll and Scott Lloyd, eds Infrastructure as Architecture, Berlin: Jovis, 2010, 4-7.

TASK 1: Look for an example of an architectural space or system that supports an infrastructural network and document it with diagrammatic line drawings. The kinds of architectural spaces that support infrastructures are usually banal, even near invisible, and include waiting rooms and warehouses, call centres and parking lots, toll booths and public toilets. Your choice of case study could be based on a local (Stockholm) infrastructural network that you use on a daily basis (train, boat, bus, bicycle, animal highway, data network, other), or it could be an architectural-engineering example that you would like to examine in more detail. Based on the readings above discuss the relationship between a) infrastructure, b). architecture and c). gender, by making reference to your case study. Write 300-500 words and upload with your line drawing.

Wednesday 19 September-13.00-15.00 and 15.30-17.30

  1. Infrastructural Vulnerabilities

Butler, Judith (2014), ‘Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance’. Available online:

Butler, Judith (2016), ‘Vulnerability and Resistance’, in Judith Butler, Zeynep Gambetti and Leticia Sabsay (eds),Vulnerability in Resistance, 12–27, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Judith Butler, Arne De Boever, ‘Demonstrating Precarity’ in Los Angeles Review of Books,March 2015.!

Further Readings

Bettina Stoetze, ‘Infrastructure _ Peripheral Visions and Bodies that Matter: A Commentary’,  in Engagement2016.

TASK 2: Infrastructures often reveal themselves at the moment of failure (think, for instance, of the recent disaster of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, at which juncture it becomes clear that infrastructures are like complex machines that take into their cogs and wheels not just material and tectonic relations, but social ones too. Develop the diagram you have begun of your chosen infrastructure case study by including social flows, gatherings and modes of inhabitation, cultural rituals, and so forth. That is to say, illustrate how your chosen infrastructure is populated and used. Use 300-500 words and illustrate with line drawings.

  1. Infrastructural Instruments

Simone Brott, ‘Collective Equipments of Power: The Road and the City’ in Thresholds 40, Socio-, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, 2012, 47-54.

Ronald Rael, ‘Boundary Line Infrastructure’, in Thresholds 40, Socio-, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, 2012, 75-82.

Francesco Marullo, ‘Logistics Takes Command’, in Log 35, 2015.

TASK 3: Infrastructures are complex material and immaterial systems that are both technological as well as socio-political. Analyse and discuss your chosen infrastructure in terms of its components and how they operate in relation to each other. You might want to discuss the historical emergence of your particular infrastructural case study. Document with line drawings by using an exploded axonometric. Write 300-500 words.

Wednesday 10 October– 13.00-15.00 and 15.30-17.30

  1. Infrastructural Love

Hannes Frykolm and Olga Tengvall, ‘Infrastructural Love’, in Hélène Frichot, Catharina Gabrielsson, and Helen Runting, eds. Architecture and Feminisms: Ecologies, Economies, Technologies, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge: 2018

Libe García Zarranz, ‘Love Enough! Dionne Brand and Rosi Braidotti’s Affective Transpositions’ in Atlantis38:2, 2017.

Further readings:

Brady Burroughs, Architectural Flirtations, PhD Thesis, KTH Stockholm, 2016.

Sylvia Lavin, Kissing Architecture, New York: Princeton University Press, 2011. Excerpt.

TASK 4:Write a brief love letter dedicated to your chosen (architectural) infrastructure. 300-500 words, complemented by line drawings.

  1. Infrastructural Affects

Sara Ahmed, ‘Happy Objects’, in The Promise of Happiness, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.

Sara Ahmed, ‘Orientations Towards A Queer Phenomenology’ in GLQ 12:4, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006.

Further readings:

Melissa Gregg, ed. ‘Affect.’ M/C Journal 8.6 (2005). 25 Nov. 2011

Nigel Thrift, ‘Spatialities of Feeling’ in Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect, London: Routledge, 2008.

Gregory Seijworth and Melissa Gregg ‘An Inventory of Shimmers’ in Gregory Seijworth and Melissa Gregg eds. The Affect Theory Reader, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.

Eric Shouse, ‘Feeling, Emotion, Affect’, in Melissa Gregg, ed. ‘Affect.’ M/C Journal 8.6 (2005). 25 Nov. 2011.

TASK 3: Affect is a complex concept that relates to both emotions and feelings. Sara Ahmed discusses our relations to objects and each other in terms of the affect of happiness. Imagine how such affects as happiness or sadness, associated for instance with inclusion and exclusion, relate to the spaces and functions of infrastructure. Diagram and discuss (300-500 words) in relation to your infrastructural case study.

Wednesday 31 October– 13.00-18.00 A108

(Obligatory for AD236V participants, optional for Masters students).

Please reserve this date for a wikiD workshop with Professor Lori Brown, Syracuse Architecture, US, and founder of ArchiteXX.

WikiD: women, Wikipedia, design is an international education and advocacy program to increase the representation of women in the built environment on Wikipedia. This collaborative project between Parlour (, Architexx (New York) and n-ails (Berlin) has seed funding from the Wikimedia Foundation. 

Your Preparation see: and Despina Stratigakos on why editing Wikipedia matters unforgetting-women-architects-from-the- pritzker-to-wikipedia/

Wednesday 14 November– 13.00-15.00 and 15.30-17.30

  1. Infrastructural Maintenance

Catharina Gabrielsson, ‘The Critical Potential of Housework’ in Hélène Frichot, Catharina Gabrielsson, and Helen Runting, eds. Architecture and Feminisms: Ecologies, Economies, Technologies, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge: 2018, 246-255.

Janek Ozmin, The Garage: Maintenance and Gender’ in Hélène Frichot, Catharina Gabrielsson, and Helen Runting, eds. Architecture and Feminisms: Ecologies, Economies, Technologies, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge: 2018, 256-264.

Valeria Graziano and Kim Trogal, ‘The Politics of Collective Repair: Examining object relations in a postwork society’, in Cultural Studies, vol. 31, No. 5, 2017.

Further Reading:

Mierle Ukeles ‘Sanitation Manifesto’ (1984), also reproduced in Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz (eds) Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art (1996)

TASK 6: If infrastructure becomes most evident at the moment of failure, this means that infrastructure is vulnerable to breakdown and negative entropy. Offer an account of where your infrastructure is apt to break down. Discuss in 300-500 words and illustrate with line drawings.

  1. Infrastructural Care

Virginia Held, ‘The Ethics of Care as Moral Theory’ in The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, (2012), ‘Nothing comes without its world: thinking with care’, The Sociological Review, 60: 197–216.

Further Reading

Doucet, Isabelle and Frichot, Hélène, eds. ‘Introduction: Resist, Reclaim, Speculate’ in Architectural Theory Review 22:1, 2018. (I also encourage you to read some of the other articles in this issue).

Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2017), Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

TASK 7: Infrastructures are in need of constant maintenance and care. Discuss how and where architecture could be used as a means of caring for your infrastructural case study. Discuss in 300-500 words and illustrate with line drawings.

Wednesday 28 November– Conclusion 13.00-17.00 

  1. Final Presentations

At our final meeting you will be asked to present the draft of your Infrastructural Care booklet (pdf format). You will have 5 minutes to present your work, and one of your peers will be assigned to offer a review. You will also receive feedback from the seminar leader and the other members of the class. Following the review of your draft you have 2 weeks to finalise your ‘Infrastructural Care’ booklet and submit it to the seminar blog at:

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