Colonialism, Post-Colonialism and Architecture Cultures

With a focus on twentieth and twenty-first-century architecture, modern and contemporary history, and theory of architecture, this area investigates trajectories of architectural research and practice that intersect with questions of knowledge exchange and overlapping power relations, material inequalities, and social struggles. Research in this area raises questions of power and hegemony in architecture and urban design and examines the role played by the discipline in debates over questions of race, gender, class, and ecology. Among the primary concerns animating the research are ideas of knowledge production and knowledge migration (i.e. mobility of people, ideas, and texts; architectural pedagogies; etc.), as well as interests in cross-cultural exchanges among different architectural traditions. Particular attention is paid to the off-centered geography of design and to South-South/South-North exchanges.

Themes investigate unknown histories of Western and non-Western modernism (such as those concerning African, South American, and Asian regions) as they relate to the mythology of indigeneity and the development of concepts of race. Topics to be discussed include but are not limited to, the relationship between architecture, colonization, settler colonialism, and post-colonialism in conjunction with the evolution of concepts of modernization and changes to the notion of westernization within the architectural discipline. Subjects examine, among others, the development of infrastructures of extraction and technologies of separation; the relationship between environmentalism, slow violence, and architecture; histories of emergency architecture, humanitarianism, and shelter design; the tension between architecture, extraterritorial spaces, and ideas of citizenship; the emergence of decolonized bodies and identities in architecture; the role of minority architects and minorities in architecture.


Elisa Dainese

Elisa Dainese

Assistant Professor


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