Category Archives: Uncategorized

The poetry of medieval maritime travel

I have been reading Arab navigation manuals and travelogues, and there is such poetry in the navigation manuals in particular. It is the liminality of the navigation texts in particular – between art and science, familiar and wholly other.  I … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Medieval Arab Naviation

“More interesting is the testimony of Ibn al-Mujawir who reports that in 626 A.H./1228-9 A.D. a ship arrived in Aden from Qumr (Comoros or Madagascar); the art of navigation of the people of Qumr impressed him as superior to that … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, ports, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Of Ballast and Land Reclamation

That extraordinary image is from some time in the 1970s, and the container-ship steaming so serenely in Hudson River is a Jugolinija ship belonging to the Yugoslav national shipping line.  What is of course poignant about the image is that … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, construction, environment, imperialism & colonialism, infrastructure, political economy, transport, Uncategorized, war | Leave a comment

The Multivalence of Infrastructures II – Rail

I am reading a fascinating article about colonial engineering. Canay Ozden’s fabulous “Pontifex Minimus” is about the British engineer of the Low (or old) Aswan Dam, and the article just drips with all sorts of wonderful quotable sections.  For example, … Continue reading

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The Multivalence of Infrastructure I – Roads

As always Paul Rabinow’s French Modern is an extraordinary reminder of how transport infrastructures serve functions at once military and commercial – and in fact “war, commerce, and transit” (in Paul Nizan’s memorable phrase) cannot be prised apart. Here is Rabinow … Continue reading

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Logistic Routes and the Détente

Reading an interesting article on the alignment of USSE with Siad Barré’s regime in Somalia from 1969 onwards and it has some interesting tidbits having to do with military logistics and transport.  The article by Gary Payton is standard Cold … Continue reading

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Labour and Capital

From Walter Rodney’s wonderful How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, this passage on the making of infrastructures in Africa: The combination of being oppressed, being exploited, and being disregarded is best illustrated by the pattern of the economic infrastructure of African colonies : … Continue reading

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