Visiting Lectureship of the Theory of Architecture
Dr. Hollyamber Kennedy
About Us

“In the history of colonial invasion,” Edward Said wrote, “maps are always first drawn by the victors, since maps are instruments of conquest; once projected, they are then implemented. Geography is therefore the art of war but can also be the art of resistance if there is a counter-map and a counter-strategy.” Drawing on this notion of the counter-strategy, we seek a revised understanding of the agencies that have shaped architectural modernism. We emphasize the study of architecture as a trans-situational field of tension to which multiple actors, practices, and materials contribute. In seeking to make visible the manifold forces that have shaped architecture’s modernity, this approach gives precedence to the counter-map, shaped both by organized insurgency and private counter-conduct.

In charting our understanding of these forces, we highlight an emerging body of critical scholarship that investigates the relationship between architecture and infrastructure, and between the land, terrain, and territory. We ask how architecture is co-productive of the territorial canvas, and how in turn architectural invention has shaped governmental practices of territoriality. This approach sheds light on architecture’s mediation of the interplay between state formation and the global marketplace; between citizenship and a racialized understanding of the nation; between appropriation and production, extraction and manufacture; and between displacement and enforced sedentarization.

We frame these questions through an interrogation of the colonial built environment, focusing in particular on the understudied relationships between external colonial planning and the architectural techniques of internal colonialism. As with studies of the colonial built environment—studies that primarily concern themselves with networks of design knowledge that traveled between colony and metropole—rigorous scholarship on the architectures of internal colonialism (a domestic subset of a larger colonial or imperial paradigm) carry a great potential to shift how we understand the architectural, artistic, and planning cultures of pre-World War II Europe, and can expand in significant ways the genealogies we are building of the global diaspora of those cultures in the post-war period, helping us to better understand the subsequent changes to their institutional and disciplinary practices and the impact of their increasingly pronounced role in global governance thereafter.

Biographical excerpt: Dr. Kennedy previously held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Harvard University, at the Mahindra Humanities Center, as part of a four-year project on Migration and the Humanities. Her research has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the DAAD, SAH, and CAA. Her writing has been published by Grey Room, The University of Chicago Press, Avery Review, MIT Press, and Whitechapel Gallery, among others. She has an essay forthcoming with Aggregate that is a part of the Feminist Architectural Histories of Migration series, and a chapter in a forthcoming book edited by Itohan Osayimwese on The Architectural Legacies of German Colonialism in Africa. She is currently working on a long-term collaborative project with Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi provisionally titled Concept Histories of Settlement. She received her PhD in Architectural History and Theory from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.