Critical Dialogues on Race and Modern Architecture

Fri, Feb 26, 2016    12:30pm

Adrienne Brown, Assistant Professor - Department of English Language and Literatures, University of Chicago
Mark Crinson, Professor, University of Manchester
Dianne Harris, Dean of College of Humanities, University of Utah
Saidiya Hartman, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Response by
Mabel O. Wilson, Professor, Columbia GSAPP
Irene Cheng, Assistant Professor, California College of the Arts
Charles Davis, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

“Race”—an aesthetic category based on concepts of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power—has been integral in shaping architectural discourse from its conceptualization in the Enlightenment to the present. There are numerous understudied intersections between racial and architectural theory including Winckelmann’s idealization of Greek bodies and buildings, Adolf Loos’s association of tattooing and ornament with “primitive” peoples, and Le Corbusier’s evocations of the “primal energy” of Black jazz as spur to the rational, radiant European city. This lively dialogue between scholars drawn from across disciplines will explore how the racial has been deployed to organize and conceptualize the spaces of modernity from the building to the city to the nation to the planet.