HWISE-RCN Member Dr. Leila Harris delivered the 2020-2021 UNM Murphy Lecture

On April 16th, HWISE-RCN member Dr. Leila Harris delivered a presentation titled “Infrastructures of Inequality” as a part of the UNM Murphy Lecture series. The lecture focused on Dr. Harris’s long-running research into the politics and processes of water infrastructure in Accra, Ghana, and Cape Town, South Africa.

The UNM website states that the Murphy Lecture series began in 2011 with a generous endowment from UNM’s first department chair, Dr. Richard Murphy. This lecture series honors Murphy’s 16 years of service to Geography at UNM, from 1967-1983, by highlighting scholars from around the world who address key geographical issues in both theory and practice. 

Abstract of Dr. Harris’ Presentation: This talk analyzes a decade of work on everyday processes and politics related to water (and sanitation) infrastructure, conditions, and access in underserved communities of Accra, Ghana, and Cape Town, South Africa. The work traces conditions and everyday meanings of uneven access to basic service infrastructures, particularly by highlighting narratives of belonging, exclusion, and inequity as key to the ways that community members navigate and respond to infrastructural conditions and politics. The work fits within the broader literature on critical infrastructural studies, and recent work that seeks to understand water access and insecurity not only in relation to public health, but broader notions of well-being, as well as emotional-affective and socio-political considerations—from senses of citizenship, to trust in government, and other key socio-political dynamics.

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