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Past-Proofing Infrastructure Futures

Mobilizing Usable Histories of Urban Technology

Welcome to join a seminar with Timothy Moss, (Senior Researcher at the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems, Humboldt University, Berlin) organized jointly by the Division of History of Science, Technology & Environment and the Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED).

Time: Wed 2023-05-31 13.15 - 14.45

Location: Big Seminar Room, Div. of History of Science, Teknikringen 74D, 5th floor

Language: English

Participating: Timothy Moss, Senior Researcher, Humboldt University, Berlin

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Timothy Moss

As societies grapple with existential challenges of climate crisis and planetary change, attention is understandably fixated on the future. Anxiety over what is to come is countered with optimism around human-driven solutions. In these increasingly intense debates, talk of the future is drowning out consideration of the past as a resource.

In my talk I want to challenge this dismissive approach to the past, using the case of infrastructure to demonstrate how history can be used as an experiential resource to help navigate the challenges we are facing today. Mobilising histories of infrastructure, I will argue, can help critique prevalent assumptions, provide instructive analogies, reveal alternative pathways, or unpack earlier critical junctures. My talk will draw on examples from my own research on Berlin’s infrastructure history for illustration and present a typology of usable infrastructure pasts. From this, I make the case for ‘past-proofing’ infrastructural futures as a mode of critical sociotechnical reflection and a practice of interactive public science.

Organised by Alicia Gutting  & Henrik Ernstson , a joint event in the seminar series of KTH Division of History of Science, Technology & Environment  and KTH Environmental Science Department (SEED) .

Read more about Timothy and his research here!