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Race and Modern Architecture

Fri, Sep 18    3pm

A symposium to present Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Edited by Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George Rupp Professor at GSAPP; Irene Cheng; and Charles L. Davis II with presentations by Esra Akcan, Adrienne Brown, Luis E. Carranza, Jiat-Hwee Chang, Mark Crinson, Kenny Cupers, Addison Godel, Dianne Harris, Andrew Herscher, Reinhold Martin, Brian L. McLaren, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, Peter Minosh, Adedoyin Teriba, and Lisa Uddin.

Although race—a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination—has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. This volume offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. Challenging us to write race back into architectural history, contributors confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. By analyzing how architecture has intersected with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality—from eighteenth-century neoclassical governmental buildings to present-day housing projects for immigrants—Race and Modern Architecture challenges, complicates, and revises the standard association of modern architecture with a universal project of emancipation and progress.

Co-presented by California College of the Arts and The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.

This event is preceded by a public discussion held at GSAPP on February 26th, 2016 entitled Critical Dialogues on Race and Modern Architecture.