University of Washington (Yamani Hernandez)

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    Question for School bloggers

    By yamani
    Mar 21, '05 2:46 AM EST

    I am writing a proposal to develop a course at the university of washington's architecture department about critical perspectives (gender, race, sexuality/sexual orientation etc.) on architecture and a part of a fellowship we have here aimed toward broadening the boundaries of teaching and learning.

    do any of you have theory courses like this in your department ? if so can you let me know? i'd prefer not to go through 8million architecture school websites to find them. i thought i'd start with you!

    we don't have a theory course like this in our department. and this is a topic i have a lot of interest in. i thought about doing an independent study, but, i didn't want to just read and write about what i was reading in isolation, but talk to other people about it. anyway, i'm writing this proposal, and i am at the point in my proposal where i'd like to talk about precedent....meaning other courses in other schools. there is already some precedent here, in that the geography and women's studies department both offer classes of particular relevance such as:

    Geography and Gender
    Examines theories and case studies across international, national, and regional scales in order to illustrate the impacts of social and economic processes upon the construction of gender in particular places.

    Culture, Capital, and the City
    Examines current themes in social theory as they apply to the urban landscape. Includes the interconnections of cultural and economic processes and the spatial patternings of race, class, and gender in the modern urban context. Offered: A.

    cultural geography: Analysis of the role of culture in the formation of landscape patterns; components of culture that contribute not only to a "sense of place," but also to the mosaic of settlement patterns and occupancy that can be traced to culture.

    Urban Political Geography:
    Examines how the spatial structure of cities and towns affects and is affected by political processes. Considers both traditional and newer forms of politics, as global and local issues. Special attention paid to where politics take place within local contexts across state, civil society, home, and the body. Offered: Sp.

    however, i'm looking for existing courses from the perspective of architecture. i know beatriz colomina has written sexuality and space, and elizabeth diller, has written on feminist space...i hope to use the book gender space architecture as a major text in the course... which has tons of writing from all kinds of disciplines...then there's architecture and feminsm ..well there's a ton of books on the various aspects/perspectives of "critical perspectives" can't list them all...that's part of what the fellowship is for, to identify material, develop and eventually have the course taught.

    anyway, any info you can provide on what's offered at your school would help..


    • David Cuthbert

      yeah as part of my school's undergrad & 1st year grad school Architectural theory 1 semester was focused on means and methods of habitation in/out of the diaspora (a purposedly vague topic that covered geography, religion, culture, gender, post-colonialism, etc) - the thing was there wasn't much of a course - but "readings and discussions" with a big paper (dissertation) written a semester after the completion of the seminars, and a few presentations along the way - ranging from femal gender bias of advertisements to the cultural relevance of the Matrix

      Mar 21, 05 8:08 am

      MIT's L.W. Kinney used to teach a course called "Modern Art and Sexuality"

      From the syllabus: How did visual culture --including painting, prints, photography, advertising, and film -- come to play such a significant role in articulating notions of masculinity and femininity in modern society?

      and so on. started with laura mulvey's visual pleasure and narrative cinema, and margaret olin's the gaze. can't tell you much more because i had to drop it to fulfill a required course [this was an elective]. but i kept the syllabus.

      Mar 21, 05 10:00 am

      Diane Ghirardo teaches this elective at USC... I think it's partly to satisfy the fact that the university requires us to take at least one class that contributes to our knowledge of diversity (that's what the 'm' in the course number designates, that it counts towards that requirement):

      442m Women's Spaces in History: "Hussies," "Harems" and "Housewives" (4, Sp) Methods for studying patterns of spatial differentiation of women throughout history from home to city embodied in gender specific language and gendered spaces.

      Mar 21, 05 4:39 pm

      Well I can only way that I wish somebody had this kind of iniciative at my school, being almost a year away from graduating, I hardly doubt that I could acommodate such class by now. Anyway, at my school we have a good theoric background, but as it probably happens in other schools, it is mostly for those of us who are really interested in it, that most of the knowledge goes to. Our program include a few design theory classes, but in the last seminary we end up pretty much talking about Philosophy, which I don´t mind at all, and in the end, oh well, it´s just a whole lot of more things to stuff in your head.
      Though this subject is quite interesting to me, I would say, check out Aaron Bestky´s books Queer Space and Building Sex: men, women, architecture and the construction of sexuality.
      The first is just plain interesting and the second could give you some leading points and basis for all this information. Also I had the chance to meet Aaron Betsky in person, he is an amazing amazing man who starts speaking and your mouth just falls wide open!! and so are his books,
      I hope this info is useful and good luck with the class!!

      Mar 24, 05 9:37 am

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