Architectural Violence and Creative Resistance

“And there are lots of things, interminable things, that I could write about here. About physical violence, yes, but oh it is everywhere it is right there where we can all see it and decry it but we know that it will go on and on, and anyone who publicly denounces it is simply self-righteous and self-serving and probably simply simple, since violence is, after all, a part of living, a part of life … But I might write about this: about the spaces of institutions and the soft, chummy violence that circulates within them.” Jennifer Bloomer, ‘Not Now’, in Space and Violence, special edition, ed. Mark Wigley, in Assemblage 20, 1993.

This architecture+philosophy elective seminar will examine the fundamental relationship between architectural space and violence. The seminar will critically assess, through a series of set readings, the ways in which violence manifests through architecture and in the context of the city. Our readings will commence with the special edition of the architectural theory journal Assemblage dedicated to Violence and Space, edited by Mark Wigley in 1993. As a retort to the many ways in which architecture is co-opted toward violent ends, for instance, through the destructive rejuvenation of cities and the erasure of urban memory, the seminar will explore modes of creative resistance. Where architectural violence becomes too oppressive, and can in no way be seen to contribute to productive socio-political relations, what then is to be done?

This seminar will conclude with a workshop led by Dr Teresa Stoppani, School of Architecture and Construction, University of Greenwich, London (currently a visiting scholar at UTS) who has recently published the book, Paradigm Islands (

Participants are also expected to attend all the Architecture+Philosophy public lectures ( presented throughout Semester 01.

In addition, participants will be encouraged to attend the Right to the City conference event at the University of Sydney, Sydney, April 9 2011.

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