This seminar investigates the many architectures that participate in state and racial formation. That is, how spatial constructions—including infrastructure, housing, borders, segregation, taxation, and policing—supported by the state are integral to processes of racial hierarchization and how racialized subjects are managed and controlled. The seminar focuses on the American context, but the definition of American boundaries is open to interpretation and contestation. We look at American expansion and political history to see how inequalities have been historically constructed and how they continue to persist. We analyze American internal and external imperialism, militarism, and securitization to better understand how the nation’s myriad spatial entanglements structure life and social relations. The seminar reads a broad set of texts including Madison, Locke, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Cedric J. Robinson, Katherine McKittrick, Sylvia Wynter, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Cheryl I. Harris, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, and others. We engage with current discourses on race and architecture and link them to discussions on media, politics, and the contested project of the American nation. Students develop a semester-long research project locating a state-backed spatial strategy of their choosing and unpack the social, political, and racial histories and futures of their chosen subject.

All Semesters

Spring 2024
Jordan H. Carver