The workshop will bring together junior and senior scholars whose research investigates the social, material, and technical integration of East Asia through the lens of infrastructure, with a particular focus on transportation. The workshop’s goals are three-fold:

  1. To establish HKIHSS as a leading research center on infrastructure in Asia, and to embed Hong Kong-based researchers within a larger international network of infrastructure scholars;
  2. To stimulate an interdisciplinary dialogue on transport infrastructure between the fields of architecture, anthropology, geography, history of technology, and STS; and
  3. To produce both individual articles as well as an edited volume on infrastructure that will collectively offer a new understanding of infrastructure’s broader role in the formation of modern East Asian societies and in their regional integration across national boundaries.


CRF Project “Making Modernity in East Asia: Technologies of Everyday Life, 19th – 21st Centuries” (RGC CRF The University of Hong Kong C7011-16G), Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong


December 12, 2018

9:45 Welcome & Introduction

10:00 “Material Consequences: Chinese Iron Demand and Steel Supply in the Arctic”
Mia Bennett (presented by Kate McDonald)

10:30 “Wiring for Cosmopolitanism: The Making of a Place in the Air Space around Hong Kong”
John D. Wong (presented by Andrew Toland)

11:00 “Infrastructure of Disruption: Motorbike Taxi Drivers, Ride-Sharing Apps, and the Modern Streetscape in Vietnam”
Jessica Lockrem (presented by Max Hirsh)

11:30 “Infrastructures of Immobility? Roads, Bridges, and Fragile Urbanity in High Asia”
Till Mostowlansky (presented by Dorothy Tang)

13:00 “Competition: Organizing Rickshaw Pullers in Early Meiji-Era Japan”
Kate McDonald (presented by Mia Bennett)

13:30 “Producing Infrastructure in Contemporary China: Notes from the Airport Industry”
Max Hirsh (presented by Jessica Lockrem)

14:00 “Infrastructure’s Affects: Producing Technoscience with Care”
Lin Weiqiang (presented by Wang Bin)

14:30 “Designing for Economic Diplomacy: Chinese Multifacility Economic Zones in Zambia”
Dorothy Tang (presented by Till Mostowlansky)

15:30 “An Account and Assessment of the Railway Technology Committee of Transport Ministry of Beiyang Government”
Wang Bin (presented by Lin Weiqiang)

16:00 “Making Up (Under)Ground: Jurong Rock Caverns, Geosocial Formations, and the Petroleumscaping of Singapore”
Andrew Toland (presented by John Wong)

16:30 Wrap-Up Discussion

December 13, 2018

Field trip to Lantau and West Kowloon.

December 14, 2018

Organizers’ meeting and debriefing with individual scholars.