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Space, Architecture, and Violence across Literature and Media

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Organizer: Michael Turcios

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In recent years, a burgeoning body of literature and media has revisited how space and architecture normalize violence. Building on the foundational insights of Michel Foucault, who examined how prisons, institutions of learning, and medical facilities structure violence through interactions with power, theorists have expanded this field of inquiry to other spaces designed to experiment on and exterminate peoples marked as “other” in spaces such as the plantation, concentration and internment camps, and as Christina Sharpe has discussed, the wake of the ship. 
The structures of architectural and spatial violence persist, even as the material legacies of these forms become commonplace fixtures of the built environment. Meanwhile, the rhetoric calling for additional securitized structures risks repeating violent histories of exclusion. As a result, the logics of detention have significantly expanded, thus raising concerns on how state powers administer and maintain violence through architecture and space. These violent structures and spaces are imprinted in everyday life, thereby leading one to police their movement and expressions.

How is the violence of space and architecture represented, critiqued, or mediated in artistic and cultural productions? And how do artists and writers engage with the built environment to visualize the conditions of violence, precarity, or coercion? Artists and writers have turned to film, media and literature to visualize these complex spaces and their impacts on modern life. These include the reconfiguration of the everyday, the social experience, the cultural productions, and the way life is organized.
We invite papers that explore a range of  historical, theoretical, geographical, and cultural contexts. The seminar will encourage transhistorical, interdisciplinary, and comparative work/dialogue. We welcome intermedial or transmedial approaches. 
The language of the peripheries. 
Violent architecture, designs, and construction in the wake of traumatic events.
Marginal spaces and the rehistoricization of space and place. 
Surviving and creating community in violent spaces and structures.
The postcolonial empire and the peripheries of resistance. 
Collective or “informal” spatial practices: Squats, shantytowns, encampment, etc. 
Reservations, boarding schools, plantations, and internment camps.
Prison-industrial-complex, detention centers, and spaces of holding. 
Practices or techniques of resistance, dissent. 
Margins, peripheries, liminality. 

For questions, please contact Michael Anthony Turcios at

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