Surveillance and Self-Determination: The Black Workshop
Rebecca Choi is an architectural historian who studies the racialization of politics, culture and representation as they cut through architectural form and urban spaces. Her research examines architecture’s relationship to the changing landscape of American race relations between 1940—1970, paying particular attention to how social movements from Civil Rights to Black Power and the particular elements that help define those movements—anti-racist protests, boycotts, sit-ins and insurrections—impacted the field of architecture. Her doctoral project, Black Architectures: Race, Pedagogy and Practice, 1957–68 investigated the aftermaths of three “race riots” of the 1960s, following responses from the architecture community through university curricula, city governance, and acts of tactical resistance led by Black architects who repurposed architectural tools and methods in order to imagine alternative lifeworlds.
Rebecca Choi currently teaches at the gta Institute, ETH Zürich. Her courses examine global practices of insurrection, drawing on resources from outside of architecture as a way to encourage the creation of new tools for criticism in the discipline. She has collaborated with the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative, contributed writing to Avery Review, Places Journal, ARDETH and Harvard Design Magazine. She received her PhD in Architecture and Urban Design from UCLA, and Master of Urban Planning from UCLA.
Archive materials from the Black Workshop archives
Image source: Kingman Brewster, Jr., President of Yale University, Records, RU 11, Box 26, Folder 1, Manuscripts and Archives Division, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.