Opening Keynote: Defining Infrastructuralisms

Michael Rubenstein – ‘Infrastructuralism’

In the Oxford workshop’s opening keynote, Michael Rubenstein, author of Public Works: Infrastructure, Irish Modernism and the Postcolonial (2010), and co-editor of a recent special issue of Modern Fiction Studies on the topic of ‘Infrastruralisms’, discusses the way infrastructure and literature relate to one another through a refreshingly re-evaluative reading of Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s most famous novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). Arguing against the common reading of the novel through a ‘post-9/11’ lens, Rubenstein instead shows how Hamid’s real concern is in fact the planned violence that results from Pakistan’s notoriously poor electricity infrastructure and the role this uneven infrastructural development, at a global scale (between the US and Pakistan), plays in the radicalisation of its citizens.

 

(From the fourth Planned Violence Workshop, ‘Comparative Infrastructures, South and North’, held in Oxford in September 2015)

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