Vyta Pivo

Art History Public Lecture by Dr. Vyta Pivo—A World Cast in Concrete: How the US Built its Empire

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 4:30pm


A World Cast in Concrete: How the US Built its Empire weaves together two stories: how the US cement and concrete industries expanded their material and technological reach across the globe and into outer space; and how the material itself became a tool for spreading US cultural values and racial politics. The project shows that as the second most consumed material on earth after water, concrete is not merely a construction medium but a crucial technology that has allowed capitalism to spread, adapt, and evolve. Drawing from architectural and urban history, science and technology studies, and political economy, A World Cast in Concrete contends that without understanding concrete, we cannot fully grasp the materiality of capitalism and the scale and depth of its inequities, from natural resource and labor exploitation to social and environmental injustice. A Wesleyan alumna, class of ’12, Dr. Vyta Pivo is a postdoctoral scholar and assistant professor of architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan.

Sponsored by the Samuel Silipo ’85 Distinguished Visitor’s Fund and the Department of Art and Art History.