Space is the Place: Architecture and Afrofuturism

Seminar Theory of Architecture (052-0817-20)
Organizer: Visiting Lectureship Choi
Lecturers: Dr. Rebecca Choi
Time: Monday, 13.45-15.30
Location: https://ethz.zoom.us/j/98080233429
 


This seminar considers Afrofuturism through Paul Gilroy’s conceptual framework of the Black Atlantic. Both a cultural and geographic space, the Black Atlantic links diasporic traditions of the Black radical imagination from the West coast of Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas.

The course is an exercise in decolonial thinking that probes and challenges the parameters of architectural historical thought by blurring national boundaries in favor of streams of historical influence across scales and activities. Students are challenged to reorganize their atlas and assemble geographies of architectural thought that run counter to nation-state narratives.

Afrofuturism, first used by author Mark Dery in 1993, draws on African-American history and lived experience to map, code and imagine alternative futures commonly through futuristic and techno-culture themes. The term maintains cultural currency in music, literature, and the visual arts, yet does not have a secure place in architecture, despite both architecture and Afrofuturism’s inherent utopian ambitions. The seminar takes the concept of diasporic imagination embodied by Afrofuturism to comprehend how architects and cultural producers create forms of resistance across geographies. Therefore, the seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to architectural history by engaging visual art, music, film and literature alongside architecture and urban projects. Through their final essays, students are encouraged to develop new pathways for thinking through architectural history and theory that integrate positions from Black, feminist and subaltern philosophical thought.

Course Overview 

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Course Videos

Final Project Guidelines 

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Dr. Rebecca Choi