Jan Hansen (Berlin): How to Write an Environmental History of Infrastructure? Water and Power in the Everyday Life of Los Angeles ca. 1900

Datum: 25.10.2018
Ort: Berlin

Zeit: 18.00 (c.t.) - 20.00 Uhr

Vortrag im Rahmen des Berlin-Brandenburger Colloquium für Umweltgeschichte Wintersemester 2018/19

Jan Hansen (Berlin): How to Write an Environmental History of Infrastructure? Water and Power in the Everyday Life of Los Angeles, ca. 1900

This project surveys the appropriation of water and power in the everyday life of Los Angeles between ca. 1860 and 1940. How people became habituated to infrastructure depended on the internalization of new routines, but it also depended on the materiality of the system and on natural crises such as droughts and floods, which were a constant headache in semiarid Los Angeles. Theoretically, this project suggests that infrastructure is constantly being made or unmade by consumers/producers and the environment. Placing particular emphasis on the question of how the appropriation of infrastructure contributed to creating social identities (race, class, gender, and age), the project argues that the “modern” human being took shape through his or her interaction with infrastructure. Following Bruno Latour, it highlights the material fabric of infrastructure and its spatial arrangement as a means of understanding this process. In doing so, this project contributes to the anthropology of infrastructure and the environmental history of technology.

Short Bio:

Jan Hansen is an assistant professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the Department of History at the Humboldt University of Berlin. During the academic year 2017-18, he was a fellow in the history of the Americas at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. His research interests include the history of infrastructure, environmental history, and the history of the everyday life. He is currently working on a book project entitled “Urban Infrastructure and Everyday Life in Los Angeles, 1860–1940.” His first book was published with de Gruyter Oldenbourg in 2016 as “Abschied vom Kalten Krieg? Die Sozialdemokraten und der Nachrüstungsstreit (1977–1987).”


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,
Friedrichstraße 191-193, Eingang Friedrichstr.,
Lift in den 4. Stock, Raum 4026.

Kontakt und Anmeldung

Konzeption und Organisation des Berlin-Brandenburger Colloquiums für Umweltgeschichte im Wintersemester 2018/19:
Dr. Jan-Henrik Meyer (University of Kopenhagen/ZZF Potsdam)
Dr. Astrid M. Kirchhof (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Eintritt frei | keine Anmeldung erforderlich

Dr. Jan-Henrik Meyer
Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam
Email: jhmeyer [at] gmx.de

Dr. Astrid M.Kirchhof
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften
Lehrstuhl für Neueste und Zeitgeschichte, Prof. Dr. Martin Sabrow
Büro: Mohrenstraße 40, 10117 Berlin
Email: astrid.m.kirchhof [at] geschichte.hu-berlin.de