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Governing Insecurities

Tue, Apr 9, 2019    5:30pm

Governing Insecurities

By Felicity D. Scott

Part of the Palestine Festival of Literature 2019

Urban Futures: Colonial Space Today

Lecture Abstract

This lecture will present Felicity D. Scott’s recent book, Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-insurgency, outlining its contents and its historical and contemporary stakes. Scott will focus, in particular, on sections in which the struggle for liberating Palestine emerged into visibility in 1976 within the context of Habitat: The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, and will also present new research on the use of film as a governing media that was launched in association with the conference. Focused on the 1960s and 1970s, Outlaw Territories revisits an era when both architects and figures from the American counterculture sought to play a role in global environmental governance and the management of populations, asking how they might have assumed such a mantle and with it a certain moral and technocratic authority. It investigates how both architects and other players responded to, and how they were implicated within, a volatile historical period whose concerns remain all too familiar today: rising urban instabilities within both the “West” and the so-called developing world; environmental discourses mobilizing the rhetoric of emergency and planetary togetherness; Western panic over population growth in the Global South; rapid transformations in communication technologies and expanded forms of environmental control; increased militarism and forces of globalization; and rising claims to self-determination and environmental justice. Attending to the expanded matrix within which architecture operated, and continues to operate, Scott will speak to how and why the discourses, struggles, and conflicts of the period became institutionalized to the point of remaining all-too-familiar today, five decades later.

About Felicity D. Scott

Felicity D. Scott is Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she directs the PhD program in Architecture (History and Theory), and co-directs the program in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture (CCCP). Her books include: Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics After Modernism (MIT Press, 2007), Ant Farm (ACTAR, 2008), Disorientation: Bernard Rudofsky in the Empire of Signs (Sternberg Press, 2016), and Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counterinsurgency (Zone Books, 2016).

For a detailed schedule of PalFest 2019, click here