Call for papers: Architectural Theory Review, vol. 19, no. 3
To be published December 2015
Special Issue: Spatial Violence
Editors: Andrew Herscher and Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi
This special issue will be devoted to the exploration of spatial violence. We invite papers that examine the mediation of violence through architectural registers: construction, destruction, design, use, representation, theory, and history.
The imbrication of violence and space in histories of architecture and urbanism has often been articulated in terms that elide frameworks for critique and thereby reproduce violence in historiographical form. We see this in interpretations of spatial violence that privilege the destruction of works of architecture or sovereign space through visually significant events or acts; that reinforce the role of architects or planners as authors and of authorship only as constructive, rather than destructive; that approach archival and other institutional and epistemological regimes only as sources of evidence about political violence rather than components of violent political assemblages; and that underscore the notion that spatial forms of violence represent rupture to an ostensibly normative fabric, or a "state of exception," in Carl Schmitt's term, as for example in political conflict or humanitarian disaster. We contend that the concept of spatial violence, as such, and pursuant architectural histories, structured as they have been by political forces and dynamics, have thus provided legitimations for political and historiographical violence, and, moreover, have been subsumed under other orders of knowledge and practice.
In contrast, we pose spatial violence as a constitutive dimension of architecture and its epistemologies—as a theoretical method, rather than a topic, and indeed, one native to architectural theoretical and historical inquiry. Spatial violence, in this conception, may be used to study histories of and through architecture, and may be understood as a force that has manifested systemically (and thus, perhaps less prominently in the chronologies and geographies of architectural historical discourse) through what Slavoj Žižek has described as "the more subtle forms of coercion that sustain relations of domination and exploitation." Such structural violence is related to processes less immediately visible than those of directly transacted physical violence; we may find traces in the circulation of capital through phases of development and modernization, mass-urbanization that renders ever-greater densities of population vulnerable to ecological disaster, or the ghettoization of peripheral and interstitial territory in cities worldwide. This reading refracts expressions and understandings of the purportedly distinctive borders between war and peace; modernization, as the extraction of violence from everyday life; capitalist accumulation, as a naturalized mode of violent and expansive global imperialism; violence, as a form of social, political, and economic order rather than its exceptional interruption; and space, as a figure itself, rather than an empty field upon which social, political, and economic forces act themselves out. In short, it suggests that violence is not only something inflicted upon architecture, but also something that architecture itself inflicts—that is to say, in keeping with Walter Benjamin's prescient formulation that there is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism, "spatial violence" thereby offers another name for "architecture" itself.
For this special issue of Architecture Theory Review, we seek essays that help to position "spatial violence" as a new historiographical model, which describe and analyze architecture's participation in political violence, as well as architectural history's participation in the legitimization, naturalization, and masking of political violence. How may we theorize spatial or territorial redistribution, intervention, and politics in relation to violence? How have spatial strategies for the reorganization of economics, society, and power been articulated in relation to violent acts, and any putative prevention of or recovery from them? What roles have architectures and architects played in advancing or resisting violence? How does the study of violence contribute to the historical analysis of space and how does the study of space contribute to the historical analysis of violence? And how do spatial histories of violence relate to and act upon other histories, offering new sequences, continuities, and ruptures and contouring such historical categories as "development," "modernity," and "progress"? The ambition of this special issue is to explore what "spatial violence" might yield, both in terms of new historical narratives, and as a basis for historical and theoretical critique.
Architectural Theory Review, founded at the University of Sydney in 1996, and now in its nineteenth year, is the pre-eminent journal of architectural theory in the Australasian region. Now published by Taylor and Francis in print and online, the journal is an international forum for generating, exchanging and reflecting on theory in and of architecture. All texts are subject to a rigorous process of blind peer review.
Enquiries about this special issue theme, and possible papers, are welcome;
please email the editors (Andrew Herscher: firstname.lastname@example.org; Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi: email@example.com). All other queries may be directed to Sean Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for the submission of completed manuscripts is Monday 1st
August 2014. Please submit manuscripts via the journal¹s website:
When uploading your manuscript please indicate that you are applying for
this special issue (vol. 19.3 – Spatial Violence).
Manuscript submission guidelines can be found at: