3rd Vienna Workshop on STEM Collections, Gender and Sexuality (Web)
Venue: Technisches Museum Wien
Proposals by – extended: 30.06.2023
Infrastructures are socio-technical systems and immaterial networks that link people, materialities, places, institutions and services. In the form of, e.g., transportation routes, water and energy supply systems as well as communication networks, they create long-lived structures but also path dependencies. They provide, enable and prevent social functions—e.g., mobility, interchange, communication—and ensure the operation and functioning of society, the economy, and politics. By being embedded in social structures, they reproduce social realities.
Societal notions of order and orientation materialize in infrastructures—at the same time they structure daily life, in which gender and sex are pervasive. Gender assignment thus means different access to infrastructures. Not everyone benefits equally from investments in transportation and utility networks, and not everyone has the same needs or uses these networks in the same way. As much as the conception of new infrastructures means exploring future possibilities, so much these processes are shaped by power relations and inequality—which shows, among other things, in the fact that gender and sexual diversity rarely play a role in infrastructure development (one notable exception being, for example, the Canadian QUIN—Queer Infrastructure Network).
Infrastructure research is done from numerous perspectives—including (technology) history, STS, cultural and social anthropology, media theory, postcolonial theory, architecture and urban planning. In the context of a gender-informed perspective on material culture, studies on the materiality of infrastructures (e.g., Jan Hansen & Frederik Schulze) as well as on an “infrastructure of intimacy” (Ara Wilson) have, among others, proven useful. As institutions, (technological) museums are part of cultural and educational networks, at the same time they provide (infra-)structures for the preservation of documentation of, as well as … read more (PDF).