Events / Decolonization of Architectural Pasts and Futures

Decolonization of Architectural Pasts and Futures

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Architecture in the United States and many other parts of the world is built on stolen land. Architectural historians have begun to acknowledge the ongoing epistemic and physical violence of settler colonialism, to explore how the continued dispossession of Indigenous people challenges the narratives of the discipline, and to engage questions of colonization and decolonization in their curricula. But few have yet examined how Indigenous architectural theories and practices might impact the writing of architectural stories, the limits, possibilities, and definitions of archives, and even the category of “architecture” itself.

Moving beyond the logics of extraction that have too often characterized settler engagements with Indigenous people and their lands, this afternoon’s speakers will discuss how architectural historians and theorists can responsibly engage Indigenous knowledge, history, and practices in pedagogy and research. The first set of speakers, from the fields of Indigenous studies, literature, and history, will share how they address Indigenous knowledge within their own practices. The second set of speakers, all architectural historians, will conduct a roundtable discussion on ethical engagements with Indigenous knowledge in architectural pedagogy and research.

Speakers include Mark Jarzombek, John N. Low (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians), Kyle T. Mays (Black/Saginaw Anishinaabe), Chris Cornelius (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Kelema Lee Moses, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió, Desirée Valadares, and Kelly Wisecup.

Organized by Andrew Herscher and Ana María León for SCCP and Ayala Levin and Meredith TenHoor for the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative.


Funding provided by The Global Architectural History Collaborative, the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute, Northwestern University Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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