SAH Race and Architectural History Affiliate Group Receives Graham Foundation Grant for Race & Podcast

Sep 8, 2022 by SAH News
The Graham Foundation has awarded the SAH Race and Architectural History Affiliate Group a grant to support the production of a five-episode series on the Race & podcast titled "I Pity the Countries: Comparative Spatial Histories of Settler Colonialism." The podcast is hosted and organized by Maura Lucking and Charles L. Davis II, co-chairs of the SAH Race and Architectural History Affiliate Group.

Race & podcast logoI Pity the Countries: Comparative Spatial Histories of Settler Colonialism
Race & Podcast, Race & Architectural History Affiliate Group, Society of Architectural Historians

Borrowing its title from an iconic First Nations Mi’kmaq protest song, “I Pity the Countries” responds to recent critiques of settler colonial studies as a white centering, homogenizing discourse, asking how we thoughtfully and ethically tell these ongoing stories of colonization across architectural and spatial practices alongside those of localized resistance, survivance, and refusal. Race & is a five-episode podcast series of collaboratively developed audio plays, conversations, and interviews by emerging scholars in architecture and architectural history. The series will also engage with designers, activists, and theorists of settler colonial studies, Indigenous studies, and comparative ethnic studies. Topics will be wide-ranging, including territoriality and cultivation by Italian and Ethiopian colonies in Eritrea; the politics and processes of Indigenous repatriation in urban spaces in Mexico; overlapping French and American infrastructures impacting effigy mounds around the Great Lakes; and the uses and abuses of Kānaka Maoli architectures and land use models by white settlers and military actors in Hawaii. Commissioned episodes will draw from scholars' own research, engaging other experts and community members. The series will highlight both the diverse geographies and experiences of Indigenous peoples in settler states and interpret or challenge core themes in the field as they apply to histories of the built environment.

Indigenous peoples often describe themselves as having originated from their territories—being “of” the land, rather than living “on” the land. It is, therefore, unsurprising that theories of space and place are central within their histories and those of their colonial displacement. This is evidenced by the growing interest of architectural historians and allied disciplines in these scholarly areas. For the SAH Race & Architectural History Affiliate Group podcast, Race &, settler colonialism is a particularly fruitful theme in part because of the contemporary political import and ongoing temporality of settler colonial state projects. Rather than historicizing a past moments of conquest, settler colonial studies studies historical structures and continuing encounters between Indigenous peoples and settler societies, tracking the negotiation of racial identity and indigenous self-determination under occupation. Comparative or connected frameworks foreground the globalization of indigenous networks of relation and agency to decolonial processes, including the development of architectural methods for working across divergent settler colonial presents.

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Learn more on the Graham Foundation's project page.
See the full list of the 2022 Grants to Organizations.

Race & is a podcast that explores the influence of race and race thinking on the built environment. Hosts Maura Lucking (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) and Charles L. Davis II (University of Texas, Austin) have conducted interviews, reviewed new publications, hosted roundtable discussions, and held conversations with the foremost academics of the arts and sciences to recover the untold stories of the people and forces that shape the world we live in. With its season on comparative spatial histories of settler colonialism, the Race & podcast seeks to produce new scholarship and connect international networks of scholars and graduate students. The podcast aims to provide a platform to bring together these rich but sometimes disparate scholarly conversations and to create a series of multimodal teaching tools to make this work accessible to a broad audience of educators and students as well as architectural scholars.

Maura Lucking is an assistant professor of architectural history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation provides an architectural history of the Land Grant campus, studying the relationship between campus planning and craft, design, and architecture pedagogy as a connected history of Black and Indigenous dispossession after the U.S. Civil War. Another research interest considers sociotechnical histories of architectural representation and paperwork, including mechanical drawing & blueprinting, architectural photography, and mortgage and loan documents. Her work has been supported by the Winterthur Museum, the Huntington Library, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Society for Architectural Historians, and the Getty Research Institute and most recently appears in Grey Room, Getty Research Journal and Journal of Architectural Education.

Charles L. Davis II is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches design studios and courses in history & theory. His academic research examines the racial discourses of nineteenth-century Euro-American architectural style debates and its long-term effects on the cultural biases of contemporary practice. His book, Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019) traces the historical integrations of race and style theory in paradigms of “architectural organicism,” or the strategies of design that personified buildings to mirror the characteristics of the populations they served. He has also co-edited Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present with Irene Cheng and Mabel Wilson to challenge architects and historians to “write race back into architectural history.” These research projects have been supported by grants from the Canadian Center for Architecture, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.