STS Seminar Series returns with an exploration of infrastructure and ghost rivers in the urban landscape

STS Seminar Series Sept. 14 FEATURED

The the first talk of the 2021-22 Science and Technology Studies (STS) Research Seminar Series takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and features Kregg Hetherington, associate professor of anthropology at Concordia University. Hetherington’s talk is titled “Infrastructure and Ghost Rivers: Making Kin in the Urban Anthropocene.”

Kregg Hetherington

In November of this year, the city of Montreal will begin working to cover up a 200-metre creek, the last significant natural water flow within its boundaries. A group of local activists have been fighting the creek’s burial in court for years, but the city won its argument that after years of neglect, and some shenanigans in local plumbing infrastructure, the creek’s smell has become unbearable and it must go the way of all urban rivers before it – into a concrete pipe. As activists fought this, they underwent a kind of infrastructural inversion, becoming aware not only of submerged infrastructure but also the environmental, legal and historical underpinnings of urban plumbing. In so doing, they unearthed a ghost: a long-lost tributary of the St. Laurence River known as the Saint Pierre River. Following their experience and that of other ghost hunters, this talk will reflect on how entities inhabit the urban landscape, and the role that such entities might have in an Anthropocenic reimagining of urban life.

Now in its 28th year, the STS Research Seminar Series features seminars on a wide range of STS-related topics. Sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology Studies and co-ordinated by its members, the series has hosted over 500 speakers from Canada and around the world. All events in the series are free and open to the public, with no registration required.

All events in the series will run on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. They will be delivered via Zoom in the fall term, with the winter term to be determined. To receive a Zoom link for this event and others in the series, contact Conor Douglas, seminar series coordinator, at