Architecture of Migration
Anooradha Siddiqi, Barnard College
Jacob Dlamini, Department of History
April 17 / 12pm / Betts Auditorium
The negotiation between an imposing humanitarian infrastructure and an insurgent refugee architecture in the Dadaab camp complex in the Kenya-Somalia borderland offers possibilities to re-think and re-narrate forms of coloniality that have extended well into postcolonial time and space. The architectures of migration and imposed immobilities at Dadaab bring into view intimacies between practices of land capitalization, settlement, and development and historical interruptions of pastoral life. Through unexpected aesthetics and architecture of the camps, this discussion reflects on conditions of complex spatial and social belonging and simultaneous effacements and assertions of the state: in the parceling of land and designation of the environment, as well as in settlements for freed slaves, villages for detained prisoners, and camps for refugees.
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture, Barnard College, Columbia University.Her work examines modernity, urbanism, and migration, with focus on African and South Asian questions. Her book manuscript, Architecture of Migration, analyzes the history, visual rhetoric, and spatial politics of the Dadaab refugee camps in Northeastern Kenya. She is co-editor of the volume Spatial Violence(Routledge), and her writing appears in several journals, including The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, The Journal of Architecture, Grey Room, e-flux Architecture, and The Funambulist. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art and Archaeology, and a Master of Architecture degree and professional license. She practiced architecture in Bangalore and New York and her professional background includes work for the Women’s Refugee Commission.
The Spring 2019 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment / "Locating Politics" takes up the rise and fall of recent uprisings as a springboard for examining a broader inventory and longer trajectory of spaces of contestation. We question the historical and emergent topologies of politics and their changing relations to race, migration, indigeneity, coloniality, and crisis. We ask how histories of sites of conflict, ranging from houses and streets to camps and prisons, might offer us not just understandings of different locations of politics, but of the overturning and re-bounding of the very limits of the political. The term location suggests both place (locus) and relational position, and it is to this intersection that this Forum speaks—where and with whom do we act politically today?
The Spring 2019 Mellon Forum is organized by Princeton Mellon Fellows Nasser Abourahme and Noam Shoked. The Forum is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Humanities Council, Center for Collaborative History, Program in Judaic Studies, Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, Program in African Studies and the departments of Art & Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies. Events are free and open to the public.