Anti-Racism in Thesis Workshop

Saturday, February 27, 2021, 10am - 4pm

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This workshop will be conducted through Zoom. Zoom account registration is required, please register in advance here.

As part of an ongoing effort at the Cooper Union’s school of architecture to decolonize the curriculum and advance anti-racist pedagogies, this workshop seeks to extend this work specifically to Thesis courses in architecture. How does decolonial and anti-racist pedagogy translate onto the Thesis syllabus, formats of conversation, and advising models? Considering the architecture design Thesis as a world-making exercise, how can the course advance an approach for “a world in which many worlds fit,” recognizing and working against the discipline’s biases and maintenance of white supremacy and other constructed hierarchies of peoples, cultures, and histories? Understanding that “every community practices the design of itself,” (Escobar, 2017), what might be some guiding principles for the architecture design Thesis curriculum to advance work that rethinks the communal and dismantles white supremacist and other racist or patriarchal power dynamics, not just through speculative design work, but also in the studio and other learning environments.

This event gathers student organizers and educators from around the country and the world to share insight, strategy, and experiences. From within the school of architecture, participants will include staff, faculty, and students, including the newly established Architecture Lobby and NOMAS chapters at the Cooper Union’s school of architecture, past and current graduate and undergraduate Thesis students and faculty, and members of the curriculum committee and Anti-Racist Taskforce for Cooper Union’s School of Architecture. 

This event is organized by Assistant Professor Nora Akawi and Master of Architecture II students from the School's graduate program.

This event has been made possible by generous support from The Cooper Union Grant Program. This event is free and accessible to the public. 

View the full Spring 2021 Lectures and Events List.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.