Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS:
Architecture has historically developed both as an epistemological field for the formation of discourses and representations of the human, the body, society, space, the city, culture, nature, but also as an extended field of intervention in space and the built environment with social, economic and environmental implications at multiple scales. Understanding this critical and expanded role of architecture—from the symbolic to the material—requires the mobilization of critical theoretical approaches from different fields.
The course illuminates recent theoretical debates and their influences on architectural theory while highlighting the critical importance of contemporary alternative approaches, situated, gendered, postcolonial and anti-racist perspectives, both in theproduction of contemporary architectural knowledge and in understanding broader spatial-social transformations and the social and political stakes in a multiply interconnected yet polarized world.
The course introduces students to contemporary theoretical approaches, concepts and tools drawing on the work of important thinkers such as Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Homi Bhabha, Henri Lefbvre, Doreen Massey, Michel Foucault, Achille Mbembe. It aims to familiarise students with a range of theoretical debates critical to architectural thinking such as: the relations of knowledge, power and space; the social, gendered and cultural dimensions of space/architecture; the processes of space production between the local and the global; historical and contemporary forms of bio-politics/necropolitics.
Through weekly thematic lectures, contributions from guest speakers, and theoretical assignments, the course attempts to formulate critical perspectives that seek to reveal, deconstruct, and challenge dominant discourses in architectural history/theory and practice, the built environment, and space.