Urban Decay conference

Utopian Decay: Cybernetic Systems in China and the Sinophone Worlds
Friday, February 15, 2019
New York University
239 Greene Street, Floor 8, New York, NY

“The expansion of Chinese cities manifesting utopian modernity through architecture, technology and infrastructure (high-speed trains, subway systems, ever-higher buildings) coincides with re-ruralization campaigns urging return to the countryside, forced removals of migrant populations from Beijing, and “anti-poverty” campaigns consolidating rural populations into organized villages.

At the same time, ubiquitous computing has led to the rise of quantitative governance through tracking systems including social media with location services, social credit lists, app-based financial technologies, and nascent facial recognition. The boundaries of these systems are not limited by the contested borders of China: from the intensifying war on Uighurs in Xinjiang to the contested limits of offshore islands, reefs, and banks in the South China Sea; from the increasing consolidation of PRC governance in Hong Kong to the fragile independence of Taiwan; and in transnational investment, infrastructure, and peacekeeping projects in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.

This conference brings together scholars researching the conditions of transformation in China and Sinophone worlds.”

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