Design has been used to create divisions between and within countries, such as border walls, prison walls, and surveillance technology. Through these objects, design can define who does and does not have the privilege of citizenship, mobility, and access to family and resources. But design can also bring us together. It can provoke and facilitate satirical and theatrical responses across borders, such as the case with responses to the U.S.-Mexico border wall. It can also be used to directly address and combat social injustices and hierarchies. This session will consider how design and architecture might be used to change how we think of citizenship, the possible roles that designers, architects, and scholars can take up in response to divisionary or carceral designs, and how new forms or uses of design might challenge norms around race and national identity.
The Spring 2020 Mellon Forum, Staged Encounters: Embodiment, Architecture, and Urbanism, 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.