(Un)settling Territory: Land, Landscape and the Climates of Colonization_

Seminar Topical Questions in History and Theory of Architecture (052-0851-22)
Organizer: Visiting Lectureship Kennedy
Lecturers: Dr. Hollyamber Kennedy
Time: Thursdays, 11:45-13.30
Location: HIL E 6

This seminar poses the question of how projects of land, terrain, and territory enfold laboring bodies and gather around, legislate, and flow through settlement. Seeking to unearth longstanding entanglements between land and architecture, we will chart the imperial global geographies, the territorial formations, and their knowledge systems, shaped and sustained over the last 500 years by the spatial grammar of colonization—the “rifts of broken earths” created by modernization’s displacements. These formations share a common heritage of practices informed by the same recurring themes that define the damaged ecologies of the Anthropocene, a subject of increasing decolonial scrutiny within studies of the built and landscaped environment. Those themes include entrenched forms of racialized violence, land alienation, environmental degradation, and large-scale species loss, narratives of modernity archived by the land and landscape. Thinking alongside Kathryn Yusoff, Ariella Aïsha Azouly, and Swati Chattopadhyay and engaging Indigenous spatial ontologies and Black feminist- and postcolonial counter-mapping, we will trace the ways in which those territorial orders have been disrupted, unsettled, and re-imagined, proposing new methodologies for the design of planetary futures.

This course opens with the hypothesis that the historical dynamic of deterritorialization that is fundamental to imperial and colonial structures—the unit of the global, formed by empire and capitalism—has taken shape through design and architectural interventions, stressing the need to better understand modern architecture’s global land histories. Postcolonial theory further underscores the necessity to shift how we read design’s participation in capitalist transformations of the environment, its long history of “development thinking.” Thinking within and across differences, the readings for this course share a core set of decolonial practices, new patterns of thought, to chart the spatial histories of these transformations. Working with an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach and privileging marginalized voices and geographies, we will explore these interventions and developments with perspectives offered by recent movements in Black studies, critical feminist geography, Indigenous environmental history, and multispecies studies. Engaging these perspectives serves to shift how we understand who and what has shaped the architectural past, while unearthing long-standing but overlooked entanglements between land and the built environment.



I—Colonial Earth-Writing: Exploring Theoretical and Historical Frameworks
Seminar 01— 22.09.2022: Introduction | Tracing A Geography of “Small” Spaces
Seminar 02— 29.09.2022: Situating the Anthropocene & “Staying with Displacement”
Seminar 03— 06.10.2022: Seeding Empire: Shaping Species Capital
Seminar 04— 13.10.2022: Science as Sovereignty: The Colonial Origins of Environmentalism – Site Visit to Villa Patumbah with ZH Kolonial
II—Land as Medium: Resource Landscapes and Settlement’s “Frontier” Grammars of Extraction
Seminar 05— 20.10.2022: Colonial Switzerland, Tropicality, and the Naturalist Gaze
Seminar 06— 03.11.2022: Discipline and Drain: Bureaucratizing Unfamiliar Terrain
Seminar 07— 10.11.2022: Internal Colonization and the Infrastructure of Displacement and Migration
Seminar 08— 17.11.2022: Development Ecologies and Expertise – Guest speaker Prof. Dr. Diana Martinez
Seminar 09— 24.11.2022: Design and the Resource Frontier, Enclosure of the Commons
III—Land as Pedagogy: Insurgent Domesticities and Planetary Futures
Seminar 10— 01.12.2022: The Land as Migrant Archive, “Swarming in the Direction of Diasporas”
Seminar 11— 08.12.2022: Counter-Colonial Landscapes and Abundant Cartographies for a Planetary Future


Seminar 01: Swati Chattopadhyay, “Architectural History or a Geography of Small Spaces?” , Wanda Dalla Costa and Shawna Cunningham, “An Epistemic Shift in Ways of Doing: Indigenous Architecture and Design”  and Maria González Pendás, “Labor Unimagined,” 
Seminar 02: Kathryn Yusoff, "A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None"  and Katherine McKittrick, “Plantation Futures” 
Seminar 03: Jill H. Casid, “The Hybrid Production of Empire" 
Seminar 04: Philip Kavita, "Civilizing Natures: Race, Resources and Modernity in Colonial South India"  and Richard Hugh Grove, "Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860" [/DL]
Seminar 05: Bernhard C. Schär, “On the Tropical Origins of the Alps: Science in the Colonial Imagination of Switzerland, 1700 – 1900” , Angela Sanders, “‘Wonderland’ Peru: Migration and the Making of an Andean Switzerland”  and David Arnold, "Tropics and the Travelling Gaze: India, Landscape and Science 1800-1856" 
Seminar 06: Debjani Battacharyya, “Discipline and Drain: Settling the Moving Bengal Delta” 
Seminar 07: Hollyamber Kennedy, “Infrastructures of ‘Legitimate Violence’: The Prussian Settlement Commission, Internal Colonization, and the Migrant Remainder”  and Stuart Elden, “Legal Terrain—The Political Materiality of Territory” 
Seminar 08: Diana Martinez, “From Rice Research to Coconut Capital”  and Manuel Schwartzberg Carrió, “Infrastructures of Dependency: US Steel’s Architectural Assemblages on Indigenous Lands” 
Seminar 09: Paulo Tavares, “Modern Frontiers: Beyond Brasília, the Amazon”  and Vandana Shiva, “Bioprospecting as Sophisticated Biopiracy” 
Seminar 10: Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, “Dadaab is a Place on Earth: Land and the Migrant Archive” 
Seminar 11: Jill H. Casid, “Countercolonial Landscapes”  and Candice Fujikane, “Introduction: Abundant Cartographies for a Planetary Future” 

Extra readings and other medias

Seminar 01: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, “Land as Pedagogy: Nishnabeeg Intelligence and Rebellious Transformation”  and Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses” 
Seminar 02: Édouard Glissant, "Poetics of Relation"  and Sylvia Wynter, “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation” 
Seminar 03: Brenna Bhandar, “Introduction: Property, Law, and Race in the Colony”  and Monique Allewaert, "Ariel’s Ecology: Personhood and Colonialism in the American Tropics" 
Seminar 04: Andrew Zimmerman, “Science as Sovereignty in the German Colonial Empire and Its Aftermath” 
Seminar 05: Anna Tsing, "Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection"  and Sebastian Conrad, “Brazil and the Nation’s Fountain of Youth" 
Seminar 06: Sara B. Pritchard, “From Hydroimperialism to Hydrocapitalism: ‘French’ Hydraulics in France, North Africa, and Beyond”,  Debjani Battacharyya, "Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta"  and Ann Laura Stoler, “Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination” 
Seminar 07: Liesbeth van de Grift, “Theories and Practices of Internal Colonization: The Cultivation of Lands and People in the Age of Modern Territoriality” 
Seminar 08: Vinay Gidwani, “Six Thesis on Waste, Value, and Commons”  and William Cronon, “Bounding the Land,” and “A World of Fields and Fences” 
Seminar 09: Petros Phokaides, “‘Ruralzing’ Zambia: Doxiadis Associates’ Systems-based Planning and Developmentalism in the Nonindustrialized South”  and Rafico Ruiz, “Introduction. First Fish, then Mediation” 
Seminar 10: Kate Coddington, “Voice Under Scrutiny: Feminist Methods, Anticolonial Responses, and New Methodological Tools” , Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, “Writing With: Togethering, Difference and Feminist Architectural Histories of Migration” and Anna Tsing, "The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins" 
Seminar 11: Deborah Dixon, “Repurposing Feminist Geopolitics: On Estrangement, Exhaustion and the End of the Solar System” and J Wainwright  and J Bryan, “Cartography, Territory, Property: Postcolonial Reflections on Indigenous Counter-Mapping in Nicaragua and Belize” 

Other Media:


Dr. Holly Amber Kennedy
Carolina Contreras Alvarez