Organized Panel Session
This panel is premised on two postulates: one, that infrastructures are part of larger assemblage projects meant to satisfy the aims or desires of certain humans; two, as such infrastructures themselves assemble all sorts of things in ways that transform material environments and transmute social, political, and cultural contexts in unequal ways. Thus, infrastructures serve as entry points to critical understandings of how projects create spaces, environments, and worlds in ways that are both contingent upon existing inequalities and generative of new unequal contingencies. East Asia is home to some of the world’s largest megacities, a place where both physical and digital infrastructures are rapidly developing, and also a place that has suffered from various natural and industrial disasters and where the environment has been profoundly transformed through development projects. In his review of STS scholarship in East Asia, Michael MJ Fisher (2016) argues that the task for scholars is not to discern a unique “Asian” form of STS but rather to explore what can be learned from research that is regionally situated and contingent to its circumstances. Following Fisher, authors in this panel draw upon ethnographic work in East Asian contexts to critically engage the entanglements of infrastructures. Our aim is not to theorize uniquely East Asian infrastructural forms, but rather to assess infrastructures in East Asian contexts in order to explore connections that can be traced across case studies.