POLITICAL MATTERS: SPATIAL THINKING OF THE ALTERNATIVE [2019 Interstices Under Construction Symposium,18–19th July 2019, Auckland, New Zealand]

Farzaneh Haghighi's picture
July 18, 2019 to July 19, 2019
New Zealand
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Philosophy, Political Science


2019 Interstices Under Construction Symposium


18 – 19th July 2019, Auckland, New Zealand

University of Auckland & Auckland University of Technology


By considering architecture beyond academic and aesthetic analysis, and more than a mere branch of traditional art history or a civilization's will to form, this symposium addresses the relation between architecture and the political. We invite papers that reflect on and analyze the disciplinary and oppressive regimes accommodated by architectures at different levels—individual, social, cultural, environmental, economic or legal. More so, in this symposium we seek to formulate the hopeful, active and productive role architecture may have in the formation of social movements and in transformations of everyday contemporary life. This symposium, then, invites papers that address the possibilities for alternatives—specifically architecture with new rationales and organization beyond scenographic or ready-made solutions proffered in the excluding interests of market economies. Preference will be given to papers that engage with theory as a way to expand the traditional narrations of the built environment.

We welcome papers that intersect architecture and spatial orientations with the political from fields as diverse as philosophy, sociology and international relations, media, arts, architecture, urbanism and human geography. Submissions may centre on the following aspects:


  • Architecture as an instrument of power and control, including the political role of architecture.
  • The political possibilities for architecture beyond the expression of hegemonic order.
  • The implication of architecture’s political dimension for pedagogical orientations.
  • Rethinking the contemporary urgency of theorizing the nexus between politics and space as found in, say, the works of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Hannah Arendt, Chantal Mouffe, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Judith Butler and Paul Virilio.
  • The role architecture assumes amidst increasing border control, permanent security, aestheticized threat, human rights violations, displacement and spatial violence, and how it can assist in transgressing the present modes of governing.
  • Ways of engaging with questions of conflict, security and territorial stability but not at the expense of dehumanizing the Other, or ways of addressing rights to territory and ownership without denying the rights of people to access or dwell in that space.
  • Architectural alterity arising at peripheries or in transitional contexts and with disavowed or occluded histories relative to identity reconstruction.
  • The spatial techniques through which power relations permeate into human flesh, desire and action.


Information for Applicants

Please submit your abstract to f.haghighi@auckland.ac.nz  by 25 January 2019.  The submission should contain two Word documents:

  • An abstract of 300 words containing the title, core theme or hypothesis, the proposed approach or methodology, and broad findings to be delivered in your paper;
  • A short biography (approximately 100 words) for each author including name, affiliation, contact details (postal address, phone number and e-mail) and abstract title.


Important Deadlines

>     07.11.2018  - Call for papers open

>    25.01.2019  - Deadline for abstract submission

>     01.03.2019  - Notification of selected abstracts

>     02.04.2019  - Registration opens

>     01.05.2019  - Deadline for early bid registration

>     01.06. 2019 - Final Symposium programme

>     18.07. 2019 - Symposium Opens

>     01.08.2019  - Call for papers for Issue 21 of Interstices: A Journal of Architecture and Related Arts.

>     01.10.2019  - Deadline for paper submission

>     01.02.2020  - Journal publication (estimated date)




Professor Felicity Scott, GSAPP Columbia University, U.S.

Professor Ian Buchanan, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Bernard Khoury/DW5, Architect, Lebanon (TBC).



Interstices Under Construction Symposium:

18 – 19th July 2019, Auckland, New Zealand

University of Auckland & Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand


Abstracts will be assessed by an academic committee appointed by the symposium organisers and then be subject to a double blind review process. Accepted abstracts will be published on the Interstices website: http://www.interstices.ac.nz/news-events/.


The symposium will be followed by a call for papers on the same topic for Issue 21 of Interstices: Journal of Architecture and Related Arts. The deadline for submission of 5000 words papers for issue 20 of Interstices will be, subject to review, on 1st October 2019, with the estimated publication in February 2020. For Journal’s submission guidelines see: https://www.interstices.ac.nz/information-for-contributors/guidelines-for-submissions/




Farzaneh Haghighi, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Nikolina Bobic, University of Plymouth, UK

Andrew Douglas and Sue Hedges, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand


+ For more see: https://www.interstices.ac.nz/call-for-papers-7/

+ Image: Photo and design by Nikolina Bobic



Contact Info: 

Farzaneh Haghighi, University of Auckland, New Zealand. <f.haghighi@auckland.ac.nz>
Nikolina Bobic, University of Plymouth, UK. <nikolina.bobic@plymouth.ac.uk>