Call for Papers: The Negotiated Spaces of Zoning. Chicago, 12-15 February 2020

Session at College Art Association Annual Conference. Chairs: Christopher M. Ketcham and Deepa Ramaswamy

Zoning is an administrative apparatus that controls the use of urban space. Since its enactment in early 20th century New York and subsequent global spread, zoning law has served as a potent bureaucratic structure through which public and private space is delimited, the social and economic identity of the city is codified, and the body politics of race and gender are managed. Zoning has had an instrumental impact on modern architecture and, since the 1960s, has increasingly served as a framework for artists who engage urban space and its underlying networks of control. Yet zoning barely registers in histories of modern architecture and art.

The space of zoning is a negotiated space of art, architecture, and municipal power. Zoning laws have been adopted, revised, and manipulated to consolidate urban authority and harden the boundaries of social and racial stratification. Architectural and aesthetic programming promotes new meanings, uses, and publics, and, in turn, defines and excludes those that do not conform to the authorized image of the city. This programming ranges from percent-for-art policies to counter-hegemonic practices that resist official mechanisms of control. How do communities marginalized by zoning oppose its bureaucratic authority? In what ways has postwar zoning promoted an abstraction of labor from urban space and reconfigured the city as a site of global economy? This panel seeks papers that assess zoning’s global impact on the social, material, and economic life of the city, with particular attention to ways that art and architecture have both solidified and contested spatial authority.

In order to submit, please gather the following and send via email to the chair(s) at cketcham5@gmail.com or deepa.ramaswamy@me.com before 23 July 2019:

  • Completed proposal form (please follow link to download)
  • A shortened CV (close to 2 pages)
  • (Optional) Documentation of work when appropriate, limit to five images as a single PDF, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own practice.

For more details on the submission process, please visit here.

More information about the panel can be found here.

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