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AFFIRMATION 4: Indigenous Worldings

Mon, Oct 9, 2023    6:30pm

PLEASE NOTE - Update 10/09: Unfortunately, due to personal reasons Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui is not able to participate in this conversation.

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui and Paulo Tavares participate in the fourth edition of the AFFIRMATIONS series under the theme of “Indigenous Worldings.” The discussion will be followed by a response from Assistant Professor Emanuel Admassu (AD–WO).

AFFIRMATIONS is an eight-month series of discussions with designers, researchers, planners, preservationists, and activists to affirm and interrogate how to think and redesign the built environment at the intersection of climate, ecological, societal, bodily, and technological crises and defiance. As a project convened to interrogate and affirm how to think and practice the reworlding of societies and ecosystems now, AFFIRMATIONS is intended to align evidence and aspirations. It will summarize and state underrepresented histories and possible futures that emerge from the cracks in the structures of power built on the interdependency of carbonization, extractivism, colonization, racialization, anthropocentrism, inequality, patriarchy, and technocracy. GSAPP students and faculty, together with a cohort of respondents selected from all around the world through an Open Call, are participating in the discussion throughout the academic year. Learn more here.

This lecture will be hosted in Wood Auditorium at Columbia GSAPP and live-streamed on GSAPP’s YouTube channel. The cohort of respondents selected through an open call will participate through a webinar.


Paulo Tavares is an architect, author, and educator. His practice dwells at the frontiers between architecture, visual cultures, and advocacy. Operating through multiple media, Tavares’s projects have been featured in various exhibitions and publications worldwide, including Oslo Architecture Triennial, Istanbul Design Biennale, São Paulo Art Biennial, and most recently the Venice Biennale 2023. He is the author of several books questioning the colonial legacies of modernity, including Des-Habitat (2019), Lucio Costa era Racista? (2022), and Derechos No-Humanos (2022). The curatorial project Terra, in collaboration with Gabriela de Matos, was awarded the Golden Lion for best national participation at La Biennale di Venecia 2023, and Tavares was selected by ArchDaily as one of the Best News Practices of 2023 worldwide. He was co-curator of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial and is part of the advisory curatorial board of Sharjah Biennial 2023. Tavares teaches at Columbia GSAPP and at the University of Brasília, and leads the spatial advocacy agency autonoma.

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui is an Aymara-descended sociologist and activist whose work focuses on the Katarista Indigenous movement, the Cocalero Movement, and Libertarian groups in La Paz, Bolivia. Alongside other Indigenous and Mestizo scholars, she is a co-founder of the Andean Oral History Workshop (1983), and co-founder of the self-managing group Colectivo Ch’ixi (2009), a group of activists who work on agroecology, construction and food sovereignty, sustainable urban agriculture, and courses on the sociology of the image.

Her many books and articles include Oprimidos Pero no Vencidos: Luchas del Campesinado Aymara y Qhichwa, 1900–1980 (1984, translated to English and Japanese), Los Artesanos Libertarios y La Ética del Trabajo (1988, co-authored with Zulema Lehm), Las Fronteras de la Coca, Epistemologias Coloniales y Circuitos Alternativos de la Hora de Coca (2003), Violencias (Re)encubiertas en Bolivia (2009), Sociología de la Imagen (2015) and Un Mundo Ch’ixi es Posible(2018). In addition to her written works, she has also made documentary and fiction films and videos.

She has been a professor at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés for more than 35 years, where she received an Honoris Causa PhD in 2018, the same year she also received this award from the Universidad Nacional de San Luis (Argentina).

Emanuel Admassu ’12 MSAAD ’13 AAR is an Assistant Professor at Columbia GSAPP. He is a founding partner, with Jen Wood, of AD–WO, an art and architecture practice based in New York City, and by extension, between Melbourne and Addis Ababa. He is also a co-founding board member of the Black Reconstruction Collective. His art, design, and teaching practices operate at the intersection of design theory, spatial justice, and contemporary African art. The work meditates on the international constellation of Afrodiasporic spaces. Most recently, he has been analyzing the socio-spatial identities of two urban marketplaces: Kariakoo in Dar es Salaam and Merkato in Addis Ababa. Admassu has previously taught at RISD Architecture and Harvard GSD.

AFFIRMATIONS is curated by Andrés Jaque, Dean of Columbia GSAPP, and Bart-Jan Polman, Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Columbia GSAPP.

This event content is equivalent to 1.5 AIA/CES total learning credit. Please contact events@arch.columbia.edu for more information.