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Creolized Technologies

Nina Jäger 2017

A Caribbean Taste of Technology: Creolization and the Ways-of-Making of the Dancehall Sound System

The Caribbean has long been considered a melting pot of Old and New Worlds. Writer, director, and cultural researcher Julian Henriques looks at the Jamaican reggae dancehall sound system to explore how this street technology has found creolizing ways to prevail in the neocolonial power struggle between popular culture and Jamaica’s ruling elite.

by Julian Henriques
598 seconds read

Creole Technologies

In this original essay written nearly a decade ago, historian of science and technology David Edgerton introduces the concept of creole technology by foregrounding the varied transformations of technologies that attend to locally specific situations and thereby putting actual and, more importantly, derivative use over invention.

by David Edgerton
748 seconds read

Creolized Technologies of Demoralization

While creolized technologies could be understood as reasserting the “human” in the technosphere, theorist and urbanist Elisa T. Bertuzzo argues that it is not necessarily humane. In parsing out the precarious and often informal archipelago-like social spaces in the Karail Basti neighborhood of Dhaka, she depicts the techniques of relation that emerge between residents, state actors, the economy, and natural degradation.

by Elisa T. Bertuzzo
579 seconds read

Memories of the Yagán: The Chilean Automobile for the People

The Yagán, a low-cost utility vehicle placed onto a Citroën chassis, was manufactured by the socialist Chilean government between 1970 and 1973 as part of an effort to provide affordable goods for every citizen. Its story is one of local craft, misdirected politics, and design on-the-fly, which historian of science Eden Medina has carefully framed alongside an interview between her husband, Cristian Medina and his father, Don Pedro, who was in charge of methods for the car’s manufacture.

by Eden Medina
569 seconds read

Race and Technology: A Creole History

Many of the tropes of Western modernity uphold a binary between race and technology, framing them within a civilization narrative that “naturalizes” racialized bodies as a contradistinction to “cultured” technological modernity. Using historical examples and science fiction, literary scholar Louis Chude-Sokei collapses this oppositional model by foregrounding their mutually configured conceptualization.

by Louis Chude-Sokei
324 seconds read

The Shipworm and the Telegraph

Unpacking the notion of “creole technologies” by attending to an encounter of a dialect and an artifact, historian On Barak describes how a confluence of telegraphy, shipworms, colonialism, and imported Malay rubber transformed the Arabic language into its modern form through channels of multi-directional transmission. Such channels redirect also the narrative that suggests technologies usually diffuse from the global north to the south.

by On Barak
394 seconds read
“Creolization” is a linguistic term used to describe the transformation process of a standardized, often imported language as it transforms beyond a simplified dialect (or pidgin) to become an expression of a particular place’s linguistic and cultural condition. As a result of colonization and the collision of indigenous cultures and local dynamics, this phenomenon is especially evident in the complex mixture of languages in the Caribbean. Though strongly tied to language, the concept of creolization can also be applied to processes of transformation that affect other cultural artifacts. Technologies make their way across the globe in much the same way as languages do. And when these technologies are implemented within the dynamics of local situations, their purported use can become irrelevant, alien, or even oppressive. Creolized technologies are technologies that go through transformations and inversions, making their standard forms and functions more applicable to a local set of necessities. This dossier looks at how these local particularities and relations resonate as écho-mondes that reflect back local dynamics, modulating technological usage in such a manner that the technologies themselves are irreversibly transformed.