SWANA architecture and identity explored in the Sciame Lecture Series at Spitzer School of Architecture

“Crosscurrents: Architecture, Landscape, and Spatial Practices in Southwest Asia and North Africa” is the theme of the 2023 Fall Sciame Lecture Series the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York. The series assembles designers, scholars, practitioners, and activists who engage the territories of Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA) and probes the radical reimagining of the region compelled by the expression SWANA. In recent years, the acronym SWANA has gained currency among architects, landscape architects, urbanists, and historians who conceptualize the territories of the Middle East and North Africa through geography and place rather than colonial frameworks.

The term “Middle East” was a British invention, a tool used to advance colonialism in a region where so many national borders resulted from imperialist interventions. Groundbreaking designers, scholars, practitioners, and activists chart multiple—and sometimes competing—currents in the architecture of the region and its diasporas, while displacing essentializing colonial narratives.

In this series, speakers from across the area shed light on global, transnational, and diasporic human stories about design, space, landscape, and architecture in SWANA, and advance new ideas about territory, buildings, places, histories, and belonging.

The eight-part series is made possible by the Spitzer Architecture Fund and the generous support of Frank Sciame ’74, CEO of Sciame Construction and is free and open to the public. Lectures begin at 5:30 p.m. and are held in Sciame Auditorium in the Spitzer School of Architecture building, 141 Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031, located at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue. 

A list of lecture dates, speakers and their topics follows:

Thursday, 09/21/2023 The Civic Entrepreneur with Selva Gürdoğan

Thursday, 09/28/2023 Gender, Space, and National Belonging: The Women’s Mosque of America with Tazeen M. Ali

Thursday, 10/12/2023 Measuring Built Ecologies with Mohamed Aly Etman

Thursday, 10/19/2023 Forms of Power and Mobility in a Bedouin Town with Noam Shoked

Thursday, 11/2/2023 Spitzer Alumni Panel: Future Practice, Diaspora Narratives Hajar Alrifai  ’21, Hamees Gabr  ’22, Nadeen Hassan  ’20, and Benjamin Akhavan  ’20

Thursday, 11/9/2023 Living Waste: The City in the Shadow of the Shantytown with Sheila Crane

Thursday, 11/16/2023 Nubian (Dis)places with Menna Agha

For more information, contact Nicholas Smith. Tel: 212-650-6225. Email: Nsmith4@ccny.cuny.edu .


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Thea Klapwald

e:  tklapwald@ccny.cuny.edu