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Samia Henni

Anticolonial Commitments

Series: New Canonical Histories
Date: Thursday 28 November 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 79 mins

The processes of historicising imagined and built environments from around the world are contingent on the sources that scholars draw upon, the languages that they speak, their inherited and accumulated backgrounds, and on their resources. To dismantle the colonial syndrome is to question the nature of the materials employed to construct these narratives, as well as the linguistic skills and cultural values of the interpreter of these documents and artefacts. The interrogation of the interpreter, the why, how, and what is being interpreted is essential to the examination of the fabrication of histories and theories of architecture, their meanings, implications, and impacts. These written and unwritten protocols shape the inscription, transcription, production, and consumption of these constructs, and encourage or reinforce an intellectual domination, replication, or ignorance. The lecture questions these processes and proposes two attitudes that counter and undo French colonial tendencies, beliefs, and power. 

Samia Henni is an Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University. She is the author of the award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (2017), the editor of War Zones: gta papers 2 (2018), and the curator of Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (2017–19). She received her Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture (with distinction) from ETH Zurich. She taught at Princeton University, ETH Zurich, and Geneva University of Art and Design.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.