TITLE: Spaces of Calculation: Street Addressing and the Making of a Geo-coded World
SPEAKER: Reuben Rose-Redwood
EVENT DATE: 2008/12/03
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 48 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Street addressing is one of the most basic strategies employed by governmental authorities to tax, police, manage and monitor the spatial whereabouts of individuals within a population. Despite the central importance of the street address as a "political technology," few scholars have examined the historical and contemporary practice of street addressing with respect to its broader social, political and ontological implications. When, where and why did the technique of house numbering historically emerge as a mechanism of spatial ordering? How did it come to be so taken-for-granted as part of everyday life in post-industrial societies?
In this presentation, Kluge Fellow Reuben Rose-Redwood explores the cultural and political history of street addressing in the United States, from the late 18th century to the present, including the recent shift from rural route and box numbering systems to 911 addresses. More than a mere technical device best left to postmasters and planning professionals, the spatial practice of street addressing is one of the fundamental mechanisms of the production of calculable space and is, in a more general sense, the socio-spatial equivalent to the mathematicization of nature that has dominated modern thought since the Enlightenment.
Speaker Biography: 2008 Kluge Fellow Reuben Rose-Redwood is from Texas A&M University.