Architectures of Colonialism Constructed Histories, Conflicting Memories

International Online Conference, 16 to 19 June 2021 BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg

16 June 2021 19:30 Keynote Lecture

From Postcolonial to Decolonial Architectural Histories: A Method

Itohan Osayimwese (Brown University)

This lecture aims to articulate a theoretical and methodological framework for decolonial architectural historiography. I reconstruct the evolution of scholarship in architectural history that has probed relationships between power, identity, and space-making, arguing that the roots of this postcolonial approach lie with non-Euro-American immigrant women scholars in US institutions in the 1980s. Through analysis of recent case studies, I link decolonial architectural history’s engagement with the political, interest in transforming current material conditions, and embrace of the professional as personal, to the existing field of postcolonial architectural historiography.

Itohan Osayimwese is Associate Professor of the History of Art & Architecture and affiliate faculty in Africana Studies, Urban Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University. Her research engages with theories of modernity, postcolonialism, and globalization to analyze built and designed environments in 19th- and 20th-century East and West Africa, the Caribbean, and Germany. Her book, Colonialism and Modern Architecture in Germany (Pittsburgh, 2017), received a 2016 Society of Architectural Historians/Mellon Foundation award. Her work has been published in the Journal of Architecture, African Arts, Architectural Theory Review, and Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review. Her current book projects explore migration and the acquisition of property as the realization of freedom for Afro-Caribbean people, and translation as a critical source in the historiography of African architecture. She serves on the board of directors of the Society of Architectural Historians, the European Architectural History Network, and Thresholds.