Centring Africa: Postcolonial Perspectives on Architecture

Kim Förster's picture
August 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Geography, World History / Studies

The Canadian Centre for Architecture is launching a collaborative and multidisciplinary research project on architecture’s complex developments in sub-Saharan African countries after independence. This project asks, first, how to understand architecture’s historical role in decolonization, neocolonialism, globalization, and their manifestations across the continent, at local and regional scales; and, second, how this understanding can challenge established methods and disciplinary conventions of architectural and urban studies. 

The CCA solicits proposals for research projects that will address crucial but unresolved historiographical questions of architecture in postcolonial Africa, arising from the transnational, multidirectional complexities of the new world order created around the idea of the Global South in the second half of the twentieth century.

With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CCA will direct an eighteen-month project to analyze and historicize the ways in which architecture manifests transformations in post-independence African countries, potentially tracing these processes back to colonial periods. The grants will support original, case-based research on concrete projects, actors, architectural typologies, key geographies, or urban developments that explore the history of architecture’s agency in sub-Saharan Africa.

Application Requirements

Applicants may propose projects that complicate Africanist, global, and postcolonial approaches to architectural history. Projects addressing cases that cannot be contained within a post-independence periodization and the sub-Saharan context will still be considered. Collective projects are also welcome, but responsibilities and roles must be clearly defined.

The collaborative and multidisciplinary research project is open to researchers, journalists, practitioners, and cultural producers from architecture history and other relevant disciplines. Those interested should submit a proposal in English or French through our online application portal by 31 October 2018.

Applications must include a project outline based on clearly defined cases (750 words); a synopsis locating the proposed research within larger narratives on architecture’s concerns and connections on the African continent and beyond (500 words); a video statement about the project (2 minutes); a bibliography of key literature and of pertinent holdings in the CCA Collection or other archives, or an outline for a different research methodology and fieldwork practice, such as oral history (2 pages maximum); a CV (5 pages maximum); and a bio that highlights the applicant’s previous engagement with their subject and existing professional networks on the African continent that may be instrumental in carrying out the project (500 words).

For more on the project, including information on possible themes, the selection process, and the CCA Mellon Multidisciplinary Research Program, please visit cca.qc.ca/centringafrica.

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