Infrastructure, resource-making and slow violence along the Middle Corridor

Speaker: Dr Beril Ocakli (ZOiS, Berlin)

Convenor: Dr Darya Tsymbalyuk (St Antony's)


Infrastructures are reasons for and results of (geo)political dynamics, social orders, financial flows, technical networks, and tampering with nature. Mines, roads or wind power plants are mobilised with promises of progress for imagined modern futures. Infrastructure, then, as a matter of and medium for modernisation is never just infrastructure; it is a process of valuation and resource-making. In this talk, we will travel to multifarious sites of extractive, transport and green infrastructures in Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Kazakhstan. Going beyond the instant and visible acts of valuations and violence, I will render visible slow kinds of violence built into states’ projects of infrastructure and extractivism. Since Russia’s war against Ukraine, Central Asia and the South Caucasus have attracted unprecedented infrastructural interest from Europe, with yet unpredictable impacts for these geographies. Drawing on published work and reflections on my ongoing research, I propose a conversation around fast infrastructure, slow violence and timely alternatives.