Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster

Future Infrastructures: Water, Energy and Justice

Multimedia Teaching Resource

The following two videos and their accompanying references can be used as a teaching tool both in the classroom, and by anyone interested in exploring introductory topics related to infrastructure. These videos pay particular focus to the biopolitical and bioeconomic implications of sanitation infrastructure projects and hygiene campaigns. 

These videos can be watched collectively in the classroom, allowing students to identify key themes as a class. In  groups, or as an individual assignment, students can delve deeper into any of the key themes identified using the accompanying references for further reading. After doing some preliminary research on the topic of their choice, what each group or individual learned can be shared with the class, or through a written or other assignment.

For Further Reading on Introductory Infrastructure Themes

Carse, Ashley. “Keyword: Infrastructure: How a humble French engineering term shaped the modern world.” In Infrastructures and Social Complexity, pp. 45-57. Routledge, 2016.


Chakrabarty, Dipesh. “Of Garbage, Modernity and the Citizen’s Gaze.” Economic and Political Weekly (1992): 541-547.


Chaplin, Susan E. “Indian Cities, Sanitation and the State: the Politics of the Failure to Provide.” Environment and Urbanization 23, no. 1 (2011): 57-70.


Foucault, Michel. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality. University of Chicago Press, 1991.


Ghertner, D. Asher. Rule by aesthetics: World-class city making in Delhi. Oxford University Press, 2015.


Hu, Yi. “The Patriotic Hygiene Campaign and the Construction of Clean New People.” In Rural Health Care Delivery, pp. 111-126. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2013.


Karuka, Manu. Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad. Vol. 52. University of California Press, 2019.


Larkin, Brian. “The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure.” Annual Review of Anthropology 42 (2013): 327-343.


Lederman, Jacob. Chasing World-Class Urbanism: Global Policy versus Everyday Survival in Buenos Aires. Vol. 30. U of Minnesota Press, 2020.


Li, Bin, Xiaowei Ma, Yonghui Yu, Guodong Wang, Ning Zhuang, Hongyan Liu, Haidong Wu et al. “Deepening Patriotic Public Health Campaigns.” In Tutorial for Outline of the Healthy China 2030 Plan, pp. 141-148. Springer, Singapore, 2020.


McFarlane, Colin, and Renu Desai. “The Politics of Open Defecation: Informality, Body and Infrastructure in Mumbai.” Antipode 47, no. 1 (2011).


McFarlane, Colin, Renu Desai, and Steve Graham. “Informal Urban Sanitation: Everyday Life, Poverty, and Comparison.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104, no. 5 (2014): 989-1011.


Phadke, Shilpa. “Dangerous Liaisons: Women and Men: Risk and Reputation in Mumbai.” Economic and Political Weekly (2007): 1510-1518.


Prashad, Vijay. “The Technology of Sanitation in Colonial Delhi.” Modern Asian Studies 35, no. 1 (2001): 113-155.


Zhang, Yongmei, and Bingqin Li. “Motivating Service Improvement with Awards and Competitions Hygienic City Campaigns in China.” Environment and Urbanization 23, no. 1 (2011): 41-56.

For Further Readings on Bioeconomies and Technologies of Waste


Alexander, Catherine, and Joshua O. Reno. “From Biopower to Energopolitics in England’s Modern Waste Technology.” Anthropological Quarterly (2014): 335-358.


Brueck, H. (2018) “Bill Gates Is so Obsessed with Redesigning the World’s Toilets, He Brought a Jar of Poop Onstage in Beijing to Prove It.” Business Insider, 16 Nov. 2018, www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-wants-world-to-move-past-flush-toilets-2018-11.


“Clinical Research.” OpenBiome, www.openbiome.org/clinical-research/.


Cooper, Melinda E. Life as surplus: Biotechnology and capitalism in the neoliberal era. University of Washington Press, 2011.


Corbin, Alain. The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1986.


Ferguson, Dean T. “Nightsoil and the ‘Great Divergence’: Human Waste, the Urban Economy, and Economic Productivity, 1500-1900.” Journal of Global History 9, no. 3 (2014): 379.


Hall, Christine. “Startups Focused On Gut Microbiome For Health Clues Raised $1B In VC Funding.” Crunchbase News. Crunchbase News, January 28, 2021.


Kan, Michael. “Toto’s Wellness Toilet Will Analyze Your Poop.” PCMAG. PCMag, January 11, 2021. https://www.pcmag.com/news/totos-wellness-toilet-will-analyze-your-poop.


LeMieux, Julianna. “Mining the Microbiome: Microbiome Startups Are Proliferating, Exploring New Markets, and Colonizing Diverse Therapeutic Niches,” July 17, 2019.


Mitchell, Robert, and Catherine Waldby. Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism. Duke University Press, 2006.


Mitchell, Robert, and Catherine Waldby. “National Biobanks: Clinical Labor, Risk Production, and the Creation of Biovalue.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 35, no. 3 (2010): 330-355.


Rajan, Kaushik Sunder, and Sabina Leonelli. “Introduction: Biomedical trans-actions, postgenomics, and knowledge/value.” Public Culture 25, no. 3 (71) (2013): 463-475.


“Reinvent the Toilet Strategy Overview.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Growth-and-Opportunity/Water-Sanitation-and-Hygiene/Reinvent-the-Toilet-Challenge-and-Expo.


Thacker, Eugene. “Data Made Flesh: Biotechnology and the Discourse of the Posthuman.” Cultural Critique 53 (2003): 72-97.


Williams, Carol L., Anju Dahiya, and Pam Porter. “Introduction to Bioenergy and Waste to Energy.” In Bioenergy, pp. 5-44. Academic Press, 2020.






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Tina Guirguis
Tina Guirguis
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