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Fri, 24 Nov


Via Zoom (Recording is available.)

Infrastructural Splintering along the BRI

Speaker: Orlando Woods (Singapore Management University)

Infrastructural Splintering along the BRI
Infrastructural Splintering along the BRI

Time & Location

24 Nov 2023, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm HKT

Via Zoom (Recording is available.)

About the Event

Watch the recording of the event HERE.


This article considers the ways in which the material infrastructures of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) intersect with other infrastructural formations, and how the resulting overlaps can trigger processes of what I call “infrastructural splintering”. These processes cause infrastructure to be experienced in differentiating ways, creating divisive politics where there might once have been unity. Embracing these politics as an analytical starting point undermines the techno-material stability of the BRI, and reveals its more-than-material affects. I illustrate these ideas by developing a case study of the effects of the China-backed Colombo Port City project on Catholic fishing communities that are dependent upon the aquatic commons for survival. The construction of the Port City has brought about significant aquatic pollution and ecosystem destruction, and public erasure by Colombo’s political elites. Complicating matters is the dominance of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka’s littoral spaces, which has become divided by a universalist politico-ecological consciousness imposed by the Vatican, a corruptible local hierarchy, and environmental activists that engage communities by working through the Church’s sacred infrastructures. By working through these processes of infrastructural splintering, I consider how the BRI has caused Sri Lanka’s littoral spaces to face increasingly fractious futures.

About the Speaker

Orlando Woods is an Associate Professor of Geography and Lee Kong Chian Fellow at the College of Integrative Studies, Singapore Management University. His research interests span cities, infrastructure development, and religious pluralisms in South and Southeast Asia.


Global China Local Cultures (GCLC), ASIAR Research Cluster, HKIHSS, HKU

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