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

Dr. Hollyamber Kennedy is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Guest Lecturer and at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. She holds a Ph.D. in Architectural History and Theory from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Her current book project, Unsettling Territory, recovers an architectural history of late 19th century rural modernization in Germany that linked countryside to colony. It gathers an archive of stories about territory, “reclaimed” and “cleansed” landscapes, and shared “frontiers” of agrarian development, while closely exploring the mechanisms—legal, conceptual, environmental—that allowed for one architectural space to be grafted over others in distinct and disparate locations that were subject to different but communicating ministerial bureaucracies. She previously held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Harvard University, at the Mahindra Humanities Center, where she began work on her second book project, Wastelands of Empire, which again takes up the analytic of land reclamation.

Her research has been supported by the Forum for Transregional Studies at Humboldt University, the Kunsthistorishes Institut in Florenz / Max-Planck-Institut, Harvard University, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, which awarded her the Carter Manny Dissertation Prize, the Social Science Research Council, the DAAD, SAH, and the CAA, among others. Her writing has appeared in Grey Room, Avery Review, Journal of Architecture (forthcoming) and Arch + (forthcoming), and in edited volumes published by The MIT Press, Whitechapel Gallery, The University of Chicago Press, and in four forthcoming volumes by EPFL Press and CAN Centre d’Art Neuchâtel, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, Birkhäuser Verlag, and Bloomsbury Academic Press. She directs the working group on Architectural and Landscape Histories of Internal Colonization and is a member of the Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Difference working group Insurgent Domesticities. She is currently working on a long-term collaborative project with Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi exploring critical new concept histories of settlement.

“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, Kennedy's research seeks a revised understanding of the agencies that have shaped architecture's global colonial modernities, an approach that gives precedence to the counter-map, shaped through fugitive practices, through organized insurgency and private counter-conduct.

Kennedy's research contributes to an emerging body of critical scholarship that investigates the relationship between architecture and infrastructure in relation to projects of land, terrain, and territory. Her works asks 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.