Mellon Forum: SPACE with Brandi Thompson Summers and Ashlie Sandoval

Staged Encounters | Embodiment, Architecture, and Urbanism
Spring 2020 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment

February 18 / Space

12pm / School of Architecture South Gallery

With Brandi Thompson Summers, UC Berkeley, and Ashlie Sandoval, Princeton Mellon Fellow

Urban space and Blackness exist as embodied realities and material relationships, but they can also be subject to aestheticization, representation, and abstraction. This opening session of the Spring 2020 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment will consider how the aestheticization or representation of Blackness and architectural design has impacted processes of urban renewal, designs for the urban environment, and the life conditions of Black communities. Panelists will consider the ways that aestheticization can serve to depoliticize the conditions of Black life, and also under what conditions aesthetics might be marshaled to respond to anti-Blackness within the built environment and urban design.

The Spring 2020 Mellon Forum asks how does the built environment influence how we perceive and feel race? How might design work for and against the disabled body? What are architectural design and urban planning’s political capacity in the twenty-first century? This forum series privileges the site of the body (in its raced, gendered, and abled aspects) to think through what the role of architecture and urbanism is in the twenty-first century. Rather than offering design-based solutions to social issues, it thinks of how architecture stages the body and, thus, impacts how we frame and interpret social inequality. It attends to how design influences the way we understand diversity, discrimination, and inclusion. It explores the embodied ways marginalized communities perform with and against the built environment. It looks at the social, economic, and political contexts that allow the built environment to manifest its own order, logic, and effects.

The Spring 2020 Mellon Forum is organized by Kinohi Nishikawa, Department of English, and Ashlie Sandoval, Princeton Mellon Fellow. The Mellon Forum is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Humanities Council, Center for Collaborative History, Department of Art + Archaeology, Program in American Studies, and the School of Architecture.