Flyer for Talk


Invisible Landscapes: Infrastructure and Temporality in Nabataea and Amazonia

With Guest Speakers

Sarah Newman (University of Chicago) and Felipe Rojas (Brown University)

Friday, May 3, 2024
5:00 pm
Humanities Gateway 1341

This talk examines large-scale pre-modern anthropogenic landscapes that, for various reasons, have long remained invisible (or at least barely visible) to scholars. Drawing from our comparative and collaborative work in the lands of the Nabataean Kingdom and Amazonia, we highlight extensive archaeological features and other ancient manipulations of environments that have long been overlooked by archaeologists and anthropologists.  We examine those landscapes as archives of multiscalar and multitemporal effects of activities by humans (and other beings), with historical and ongoing impacts. Specifically, we argue that the agricultural landscapes and hydrological features of northwestern Arabia and the cultivated forests and curated soils of southwestern Amazonia should be considered (and analyzed as) infrastructural systems, challenging exclusive associations of infrastructure with modernity. We also suggest that these forms of ancient infrastructure are not only physical interventions that alter the form and space of a particular landscape, but are also temporal interventions that determine how the passage of time was and is experienced.