What does race have to do with architecture? And how do the racial politics of a society shape the built environment? The purpose of this course is to find critical and productive ways of answering these questions.
This course will be divided into three sequential modules: Defining Race; Defining Place; and Building Case Studies. In the first module, Defining Race, students will survey scholarly writings from the history of science, critical race studies, whiteness studies, and cultural history to identify the most prominent definitions of ¿race¿ to emerge from the Enlightenment to the present. We will focus on the scientific origins of race theory in western Europe and the political function of `whiteness¿ and `blackness¿ in defining public culture in western Europe and the United States.
In the second module, Defining Place, students will survey scholarly writings in critical geography, cartography, urban studies and architectural theory to identify the most prominent definitions of place to emerge in the late-19th, 20th and 21st centuries. We will focus on identifying the place-making strategies of peoples in different cultures and employ speculative mapping techniques to analyze the `racial landscapes¿ that remain latent in our everyday surroundings.
The final module, Building Case Studies, requires students to develop a close reading of historical building projects located in various political contexts around the world, from western Europe and North America to Asia, Africa and various postcolonial territories around the world. Each student will prepare a final paper of a relevant case study in this course. Guest lecturers, interviews, and documentaries will be considered as needed to present contemporary research strategies for analyzing race and place and designing or otherwise visualizing the material effects of theories of difference.