Presentation by Jan Hansen (HU Berlin) on "Urban Infrastructure and Everyday Life in Los Angeles, 1860–1940”
In what ways did the introduction of urban infrastructures change everyday life in the nascent city around 1900? This talk examines the history of everyday life in Los Angeles from the 1860s to the 1940s through the lens of the city’s water and energy infrastructures. Located in a semiarid region, where annual rainfall could only support a small number of people, the stunning growth of Los Angeles heavily depended on water and electricity. While we know a lot about how the city obtained its vital resources, this talk seeks to illuminate the ways in which supplied water and power became a part of standard household practice among city dwellers from various social and ethnic backgrounds. In particular, the talk discusses to what extent the appropriation of infrastructure contributed to the making and remaking of residents’ race, class, and gender identities. Using the case of Los Angeles, the talk explores the mutual development of a major American city and people’s everyday routines and relations, arguing that class, race, and gender identities were formed in the local sites of homes and neighborhoods, as well as through the interaction with quotidian technological artifacts, such as water taps and water heaters. Taking Los Angeles as an exemplar, however, the talk presents a bigger story of technology and the urban everyday in modern America.
Jan Hansen is an assistant professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the Department of History at Humboldt University of Berlin. His research focuses on the United States and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular interests in the histories of infrastructure, the environment, and urban history. He is currently working on a second book project (Habilitation) dealing with the everyday use of water and energy infrastructures in Los Angeles from 1850 to 1940. During the academic year 2017-18, he was a visiting research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. In 2019, he was appointed Dibner Research Fellow in the History of Science and Technology, The Huntington, San Marino, CA. Next year, he will take up a Feodor Lynen Fellowship at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
The event will take place as a part of the MA colloquium of the History Department online via Webex on December 7, 2020, 6.15 pm-7.15 pm (a 30-minute presentation by the speaker and a 30-minute discussion)
Since the amount of spots is limited, please, register for the event at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time & Location
Dec 07, 2020 | 06:00 PM c.t.
WebEx Online Event