Call for Papers: Race, Ethnicity, and Architecture in the Nation’s Capital. Washington DC, 18-19 April 2020

SAH Latrobe Chapter Biennial Symposium

Governments and private developers have employed built environments to control and regulate racialized bodies. Through the systemic planning of residential and commercial districts, public spaces, and transit, they ensured the growth of isolated enclaves whose economic health varied based on inhabitants’ race. Historically-specific understandings of race have likewise shaped the design and construction of the capital’s architecture, for example influencing the development of various building typologies, ranging from embassies and museums to shopping centers. The 13th Latrobe Chapter Biennial Symposium therefore calls for a timely investigation of the symbiotic relationship between race and architecture in the greater Washington, DC region. It conceptualizes race broadly, not as an issue of binaries, but rather of corporeal hierarchies that meaningfully structure the design and experience of architectural and urban spaces.

Presentations might explore:

  • Architectural education and practice;
  • The importance of slavery and its legacies to the construction of government and university buildings;
  • Development of Chinatown, the Eden Center, Langley Park, Little Ethiopia, and other ethnic regional hot spots;
  • Urban renewal and the construction of low-income public housing;
  • Growth of racially integrated middle-class suburbs and their modernist aesthetic aspirations;
  • Design of embassies, museums, and public spaces that appropriate different cultural design and construction practices;
  • Architectural transformation of neighborhoods as a result of broader demographic changes.

The purpose of the symposium is to feature recent research in a format that encourages comment and discussion. Presentations must be analytical rather than descriptive in nature and should place the subject in a comparative context that emphasizes the relationship between race and architecture.

All sessions will take place on Saturday, 18 April 2020, at The Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning. Tours will commence the following day on Sunday, 19 April 2020.

Please send a one-page, 350-word abstract of a 20-minute paper and 1-2 page curriculum vitae by 1 August 2019 to vyta.baselice@gmail.com. All applicants will be notified of the selection by 23 August 2019. 1 April 2020 is the deadline for final text to be sent to session moderators, who will work with presenters to develop themes for discussion. For further information, contact Vyta Baselice at vyta.baselice@gmail.com.

More information about the symposium can be found here.

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