052-0851-23L  Topical Questions in History and Theory of Architecture: (Un)settling Territory

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersT. Avermaete
Periodicityevery semester recurring course
CourseDoes not take place this semester.
Language of instructionEnglish


052-0851-23 STopical Questions in History and Theory of Architecture: (Un)settling Territory
Does not take place this semester.
No course 26.10 (seminar week) and in the last two semester weeks (final critiques).
The course might sometimes change to another room (lecturer's information).
2 hrsT. Avermaete

Catalogue data

AbstractThis course poses the question of how projects of land, terrain, and territory enfold laboring bodies and gather around, legislate, and flow through settlement. Linking the architectures of colonization to modernization's damaged ecologies, we will trace the ways in which those spatial orders have been disrupted and re-imagined, proposing new methodologies for the design of planetary futures.
ObjectiveSeeking to unearth longstanding entanglements between land and architecture, we will chart the imperial global geographies, the territorial formations, and their knowledge systems, shaped and sustained over the last 500 years by the spatial grammar of colonization—the “rifts of broken earths” created by modernization’s displacements. These formations share a common heritage of practices informed by the same recurring themes that define the damaged ecologies of the Anthropocene, a subject of increasing decolonial scrutiny within studies of the built and landscaped environment. Those themes include entrenched forms of racialized violence, land alienation, environmental degradation, and large-scale species loss, narratives of modernity archived by the land and landscape. Thinking alongside Kathryn Yusoff and Swati Chattopadhyay and engaging Indigenous spatial ontologies and Black feminist- and postcolonial counter-mapping, we will trace the ways in which those territorial orders have been disrupted, unsettled, and re-imagined, proposing new methodologies for the design of planetary futures.
ContentThis course opens with the hypothesis that the historical dynamic of deterritorialization that is fundamental to imperial and colonial structures—the unit of the global, formed by empire and capitalism—has taken shape through design and architectural interventions, stressing the need to better understand modern architecture’s land histories. Postcolonial theory further underscores the necessity to shift how we read design’s participation in capitalist transformations of the environment, its long history of “development thinking.” Thinking within and across differences, the readings for this course share a core set of decolonial practices, new patterns of thought, to chart the spatial histories of these transformations. Working with an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach and privileging marginalized voices and geographies, we will explore these interventions and developments with perspectives offered by recent movements in Black studies, critical feminist geography, Indigenous environmental history, and multispecies studies. Engaging these perspectives serves to shift how we understand who and what has shaped the architectural past, while unearthing long-standing but overlooked entanglements between land and the built environment.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is aimed at students from the 5th semester onwards. It will require a set amount of reading and sessions will include intensive discussion and in-class exercises, so consistent attendance is very important.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Sensitivity to Diversityassessed
Personal CompetenciesCreative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection assessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits2 credits
ExaminersT. Avermaete
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

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Offered in

Architecture BachelorHistory and Theory of ArchitectureWInformation