This session draws attention to the life histories of roads and the social, cultural, economic and political complexities of human engagements and interactions with roads.
As catalysts of trade, politics and economic development, roads are reflection of state histories, cultural exchange, relations between societies and of the lives of the people who live on and alongside them. From a vantage point that embraces the lives and biographies of those who live along, plan, build, maintain, walk or drive along roads, we intend to broaden the anthropological understanding and knowledge of roads. As cultural products roads, like people, have a tendency to accumulate histories. Like people, roads have life spans and life histories. In short, we propose to put the spotlight on biographies of roads. The concept of biography brings together temporal, economic, cultural and social aspects of the road. The biographical approach towards roads will help us combine a historical perspective and concurrently reveal the complexity of economic, political and social engagements between people and roads. We invite papers that draw attention to roads, old, new, or anticipated, and emphasise the complex engagements between roads and people.