Borders, Barbed Wires and Bureaucracy

Week 8 Borders, Barbed Wires and Bureaucracy.
Architectures of exclusion, control and permanent temporariness.

Curated by Christine Aglot
Moderated by Allie L

August 24, 2020

Required readings

Davies, Thom, and Arshad Isakjee. “Ruins of Empire: Refugees, Race and the Postcolonial Geographies of European Migrant Camps.” Geoforum 102 (2019): 214-17. https://doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.09.031.

Bulley, Dan. “Humanitarian Hospitality: Refugee Camps.” In Migration, Ethics and Power: Spaces of Hospitality in International Politics. Society and Space Series. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2017.

 Donadio, Rachel. “‘Welcome to Europe. Now Go Home.’” The Atlantic, November 15, 2019.

Mould, Oli. “The Calais Jungle: A Slum of London’s Making.” City 21, no. 3–4 (July 4, 2017): 388–404.

Further readings

Bakewell, Oliver. “Encampment and Self-Settlement.” In The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, edited by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sigona. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Schwenken, Helen. “From Sangatte to ‘The Jungle’: Europe’s Contested Borderlands.” In New Border and Citizenship Politics, edited by Helen Schwenken and Sabine Ruß-Sattar, 171–86. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014.

 Zaragoza-Cristiani, Jonathan. “Containing the Refugee Crisis: How the EU Turned the Balkans and Turkey into an EU Borderland.” The International Spectator 52, no. 4 (October 2, 2017): 59–75.

Race, Protest and Public Space

Week 7 Race, Protest and Public Space

Curated by Ayca Koseoglu
Moderated by Ali Reza Shahbazin

August 17, 2020

Required readings

Julia Jacobs. “The ‘Black Lives Matter’ Street Art That Contains Multitudes.” New York Times, July 16, 2020.

Sarah Ratzlaff. “The Connections between Public Art and Activism.” Spacing Toronto (blog), July 22, 2020.

Tali Hatuka. “Public Space.” In Protest Cultures: A Companion, edited by Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Martin Klimke, and Joachim Scharloth, 284-93. Berghahn Books, 2016.

Amro Yaghi, Doina Petrescu, and Krzysztof Nawratek. “Performative Interventions to Re-Claim, Re-Define and Produce Public Space in Different Cultural and Political Contexts.” Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research 13, no. 3 (January 1, 2019): 718–35.

Further readings

Jeffrey Hou. “Emplacing Equity and Social Justice.” In Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space, edited by Ron Shiffman, 87–98. Oakland, CA: New Village Press, 2012.

Susana Torre. “Claiming the Public Space: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo.” In Gender Space Architecture: An Interdisciplinary Introduction, edited by Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner, and Iain Borden, 140-45. London; New York: E & FN Spon, 2000.

 Donatella Della Porta. “Putting Protest in Place: Contested and Liberated Spaces in Three Campaigns.” In Spaces of Contention: Spatialities and Social Movements, edited by Walter Nicholls, Justin Beaumont, and Byron A Miller, 27-46. Surrey, 2013.

Ipek Türeli. “Small Architectures, Walking and Camping in Middle Eastern Cities.” International Journal of Islamic Architecture 2, no. 1 (2013): 5–38.

Critical Whiteness Studies

Week 6 Critical Whiteness Studies

Curated by Laura O’Brien and Aaron Richmond

August 10, 2020

Required readings

Rankine, Claudia. “On Whiteness.” 1 Hour lecture at Emerson College, Boston.

Alcoff, Linda Martin. “What Do We Mean When We Talk About Whiteness?” In The Future of Whiteness. John Wiley and Sons, 2015.

Harris, Dianne Suzette. “Rendered Whiteness: Architectural Drawings and Graphics.” In Little White Houses: How the Postwar Home Constructed Race in America83-109. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.

Further readings

Alcoff, Linda Martin. The Future of Whiteness. John Wiley and Sons, 2015. (See Introduction and Chapter on White Double Consciousness)

Cheng, Irene, Charles L Davis, and Mabel Wilson, eds. Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present. Culture, Politics, and the Built Environment. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020.

Also see recent SAH roundtable

Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen : An American Lyric. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2014.

Rankine, Claudia. The White Card: A Play. St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2019.

Rankine, Claudia, and Lauren Berlant. “Claudia Rankine.” Bomb 129 (129): 44–49. 2014.

DiAngelo, Robin J. White Fragility : Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018.


Racism in the University, by Ipek Türeli

July 6, 2020

[Reading List]

Colleges and universities in North America, except the historically Black colleges, are institutions of whiteness. In the face of mounting pressure, some have been confronting their racist pasts and vowing to tackle their institutional racism in the present.

The recent protests against anti-Black racism, which began in the United States after the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, led college and university leaders to make statements in solidarity. Many of these statements failed to identify the issues and the demands of the protestors.McGill University’s Principal Fortier and Provost Manfredi issued statements, respectively on June 30, 2020 and July 3, 2020. McGill announced that a “plan for addressing anti-black racism” will be revealed in September 2020 with five key areas: 1) student experience 2) research and knowledge 3) outreach 4) workforce 5) space. What is missing among these five areas is the acknowledgement of past and current racism in our institution. In response, the McGill Black Faculty Caucus has issued a public statement addressed to the university to take a number of very specific actions, namely, to address the university’s connection to slavery, to establish targets and timetables for the recruitment of Black faculty, students and staff, and institutionalizing equity and representation across the university and its administration.

Architecture remains a white, elite, male discipline and profession: Architecture has a whiteness problem.

Many schools of architecture in North America have also issued solidarity statements and their student bodies and alumni have demanded change and action from their administrations with open letters and calls for action. Our disciplinary associations, e.g. the US-based Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), have made statements and organized roundtables and webinars tackling issues of race.Inspired by this momentum, our students and faculty at the School of Architecture have come together to establish this reading group to educate ourselves on the topic of race as it relates to our institutional, disciplinary and professional contexts, and to arrive at actionable steps. We are a diverse group of undergraduate, graduate students and faculty, but we lack Black representation in this reading group. Since we exist first and foremost in a research university, and physically in a campus setting, our first session focused on “Racism in the University.”

Readings to Actions

In this session, we discussed reading selections from Charmaine A. Nelson, Angela Davis, Sara Ahmed, and Kristin Leigh Moriah with an eye to arrive at actionable steps for our School.While they may portray themselves as equalizers, institutions of higher education, including McGill, have historically perpetuated inequality and helped maintain systemic racism. From Nelson and Moriah, we learn that the experiences of Black faculty and students in Canadian university campuses can be difficult and even violent; and that racial violence and systemic racism on campus are extensions of the dominant society outside the campus gates. Our School does not typically attract Black student and faculty applications. The readings pointed to the fact that not only should we proactively recruit them but also support and promote them once they are here. From Davis, we learn about the importance of international solidarity as domestic racism and violence against Blacks and military violence abroad are mutually reinforcing—a perspective that connects directly to the work and position of our global studios and exchange programs abroad and the work of the studios based in Canada—How do our courses address and/or perpetuate racism? Moving forward, can all syllabi address race? Or do we continue to be complacent with monocultural curricula? The ensuing discussion focused on the relationship of diversity on campus, or there of the lack of it, and its impact on the curriculum. When we lack diversity, we lose the richness of available perspectives; our curriculum is impoverished and ends up reproducing whiteness, excluding minorities and perpetuating racism. Following Ahmed, we discussed the lack of value ascribed to diversity work and how we can counter that. The ensuing decisions for immediate action included 1) documenting for posterity the intellectual labor of the group in the form of a blog, and 2) continuing the reading group as a course in the fall.



Jason England and Richard Purcell, “Higher Ed’s Tootless Response to the Killing of George Floyd,” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 8 July 2020.

ACSA: Rashida Ng, Lynne Dearborn, and Michael Monti, “Call to action to seek a more equitable future.” 3 June 2020.

SAH: Charles Davis, Maura Lucking, Sean McPherson, Lynne Horiuchi, Itohan Osayimwese, and Gail Dubrow, “A Statement of Solidarity for Racial Justice at SAH.” 4 June 2020.

Charmaine A. Nelson, “Introduction,” in Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada, ed. Nelson (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), 1-20.

Angela Davis, “Angela Davis: An Interview on the Futures of Black Radicalism,” excerpt from Futures of Black Radicalism, eds. Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso: 2017).

Angela Davis, “Angela Davis on Abolition, Calls to Defund Police, Toppled Racist Statues & Voting in 2020 Election,” interview by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, June 12, 2020.

Sara Ahmed, “Introduction,” in On Being Included Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (Duke University Press, 2012), 1-17.

Kristin Leigh Moriah, “How anti-Black racism on Canadian university campuses robs us all,” The Conversation, July 2, 2020.




writing & discussion

Race & Computing

Week 4 Race and Computing

Curated by Theodora Vardouli
Moderated by Simone Mauro and Reda Berrada 

July 27, 2020

Required readings

Benjamin, Ruha. “Introduction.” Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. John Wiley and Sons, 2019.

Kurgan, Laura et al. “Homophily: The Urban History of an Algorithm.” E-Flux Architecture, 2019.

Further readings

Benjamin, Ruha, ed. Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life. Duke University Press, 2019.

Eubanks, Virginia. Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. First ed., St. Martin’s Press, 2018.

Noble, Safiya Umoja. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York University Press, 2018.

McIlwain, Charlton D. Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the Afronet to Black Lives Matter. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Nakamura, Lisa, and Peter Chow-White. Race After the Internet. Routledge, 2012.

Rankin, Joy Lisi. A People’s History of Computing in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2018.

Angwin, Julia, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner. “Machine Bias.” Propublica. 2016.

Buranyi, Stephan. “Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses.” Guardian, 2017.

Kayser-Bril, Nicolas. “Google apologizes after its Vision AI produced racist results.” Algorithm Watch. 2020.

Burstein Ben-Aharon, Aya. “Is AI doomed to be racist and sexist?” UX Collective. 2019.

*Also take a look at this extensive list of resources at the Algorithmic Justice League
( Library:

Murals, Bikes, Patios

Week 5 Murals, Bikes, Patios: Racism and Bias of White Urbanism and Placemaking

Curated by Sarah Gelbard
Moderated by Michelle Brais and Laura Di Fiore 

August 3, 2020

Required readings

Summers, Brandi T. “Introduction.” In Black in place: the spatial aesthetics of race in a post-Chocolate City, 1-12. University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

Dorries, Heather. “‘Welcome to Winnipeg’ Making settler-colonial urban space in ‘Canada’s most racist city.’” In Settler City Limits: Indigenous resurgence and colonial violence in the urban prairie west, edited by Dorries, Henry, Hugill,, 31-41. University of Manitoba Press, 2019.

Ward, Ariel. “A Tale of Two Truths: Transportation and Nuance in the Time of COVID-19.” Medium. May 14, 2020.
*Content Warning: Race-based violence* [Note: the author shares a personal account of race-based violence at the start of the essay – if you are concerned this may be triggering or distressing, you can start reading on the second page of the pdf or scroll to under the first image start reading from the paragraph beginning with: “Taking transit while Black…”]

Further readings

Koh, Annette. “Placemaking When Black Lives Matter.” In Transformative Planning: Radical Alternatives to Neoliberal Urbanism, edited by Angotti, 97-100. Black Rose Books, 2020.

Rutland, Ted. Displacing Blackness: Planning, Power, and Race in Twentieth-Century. Halifax. University of Toronto Press, 2018.

Indigenous Peoples & Decolonization

Week 3 Indigenous Peoples and Decolonization

Curated by Magdalena Miłosz
Moderated by Éloïse Choquette

July 20, 2020

Required readings

Fortin, David. “From Indian to Indigenous Agency: Opportunities and Challenges for Architectural Design.” In Design and Agency: Critical Perspectives on Identities, Histories, and Practices, edited by John Potvin and Marie-Ève Marchand, 243-58. London; New York: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020.

Burdett-Moulton, Harriet, Wanda Dalla Costa, Kelly Edzerza-Bapty, and Ouri Scott. “Indigenous Perspectives on the Notions of Architecture.” Interview by Tiffany Shaw-Collinge. The Site Magazine, June 13, 2018.

Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1, no. 1 (2012): 1-9.

Further readings

Vowel, Chelsea. Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: HighWater Press, 2016.
*A great primer on Indigenous issues is the blog âpihtawikosisân by Métis writer Chelsea Vowel, as is her book, Indigenous Writes, which is available as an ebook through McGill:

Indigenous Architectures

Check out the list of sources here (bottom of post):

Settler-Colonial Architectures

Fortin, David, Jason Surkan, and Danielle Kastelein. “Métis Domestic Thresholds and the Politics of Imposed Privacy.” In Our Voices: Indigeneity and Architecture, edited by Rebecca Kiddle, luugigyoo patrick stewart, and Kevin O’Brien, 76–84. Novato, California: ORO Editions, 2018.

Swentzell, Rina. “Conflicting Landscape Values: The Santa Clara Pueblo and Day School.” Places Journal  7, no. 1 (1990).

Tanner, Adrian. “Architecture Without Rooms: Cree Dwellings and Social Order.” Together We Survive: Ethnographic Intuitions, Friendships, and Conversations, edited by John S. Long and Jennifer S.H. Brown, 71–90. McGill Queen’s University Press, 2016. 

Settler Colonialism

Kauanui, J. Kēhaulani. “‘A Structure, Not an Event’: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity.” Lateral 5, no. 1 (2016).

Razack, Sherene, ed. Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2002.

Rifkin, Mark. “Settler Common Sense.” Settler Colonial Studies 3, no. 3–4 (November 1, 2013): 322–40.

Simmons, Kristen. “Settler Atmospherics.” Cultural Anthropology 32, no. 4 (November 2017).

Simpson, Audra. “Settlement’s Secret.” Cultural Anthropology, vol 26, no. 2 (2011): 205 17.

Wolfe, Patrick. “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.” Journal of Genocide Research, vol 8, no. 4 (December 2006): 387–409.

Indigenous Literature

Elliott, Alicia, et al. This Place: 150 Years Retold. HighWater Press, 2019.

Nixon, Lindsay. Nîtisânak. Montreal: Metonymy Press, 2018.
*recommended list by CBC


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