Curated and moderated by Samia Henni
With Valeria Dani, María González Pendás, Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, and Bryony Roberts

Intersectional feminist practices and theories are crucial to design, architecture and urbanism. What is intersectional feminist practice? Why and how should it affect pedagogy and knowledge production and consumption? This panel conversation addresses these questions and discusses how different forms and norms of social stratification, such as age, class, confinement, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation overlap with space, architecture practice, and education.

Meet the speakers:

Samia Henni
is an architectural historian and theorist who teaches at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University. Born in Algiers, Algeria, her teaching and research interests include the history and theory of the built and projected environments in relation to colonialism, deserts, displacement, gender, Islam, resources and wars. She is working on a book provisionally titled Colonial Toxicity: The French Army in the Sahara.

Valeria Dani received her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Cornell University, and she previously studied at Sapienza University of Rome and The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her research focuses on contemporary poetry with strong interests in critical theory, feminism, and film studies. Dani employs hermeneutics and Jewish mysticism in order to generate new theoretical synergies between the Italian lyric, cinema, and gender. Her project, Anadiplosis/Climax. Ascensions and Downfalls in Italian Poetry studies the rhetorical figure of repetition called “anadiplosis,” which Dani analyzes both from a historical and theoretical perspective, wielding it as a tool to intervene in debates around the philosophy of language, political theology, and the limits of representation. She worked at the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines as a Lecturer of Academic Writing: there she taught a variety of workshops (e.g. “Repetition”; “Cinema and Power”; “Women and Horror”; “Short Stories”) that grew out of her doctoral research and her interest in the potentialities of language. For the last two years, Dani has been an active and proud member of the Cornell Prison Education Program, as part of which she has taught advanced English seminars (“Introduction to Criticism and Theory”) and foundational English classes (“World Literature” and “Mythology”) in multiple maximum security prisons in Upstate New York. Alongside her current writing course, she is teaching “Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” class.

María González Pendás received her PhD in Architecture History and Theory from Columbia University. Trained as an architect and a historian, González Pendás explores the intersections of spatial and building practices with processes of political, technological, and religious modernization during the twentieth century. Her research more particularly weaves together the history of modern architecture with the politics of fascism, Catholicism, and development across the Spanish postcolonial world. Her current book manuscript, “Holy Modern: A Spatial History of Fascism, Catholicism, and Technocracy at Mid-Century,” examines these dynamics in the context of the regime of Francisco Franco, a dictatorship that serves as a unique sense into the ideological reconfiguration of fascism in the context of the Cold War—a reconfiguration here revealed through designs of, and historical narratives about the built environment. Her next project considers the broader history of the impact of Catholicism on the development of building technologies, architectural labor, and modernist aesthetics in the Iberian world, what follows from her research and publications on the socioeconomics of concrete shell construction in México and on the relationship between architecture and exile in the structural designs of Félix Candela. Her work has received the support of the Fulbright Commission, the Temple Hoyne Buell Center and the Graham Foundation, among others, and has appeared in both English and Spanish in journals like Grey Room and Bitacora and publications including Architecture of Great Expositions 1937-1958 and Latin American Modern Architectures: Ambiguous Territories.

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture at Barnard College, Columbia University. She specializes in histories of architecture, modernity, and migration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her scholarship attempts to expand histories of marginalized people and figures, and promote practices of collaboration and support, especially to foreground the lives and narratives of communities that have been systematically excluded or silenced. Her work examines intellectual histories and diverse forms of esthetic practice and cultural production. Thinking through objects, buildings, and landscapes, she foregrounds African and South Asian questions around historicity and archives, heritage politics, and feminist and colonial practices. Siddiqi’s book manuscript Architecture of Migration: The Dadaab Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Settlement analyzes the history, visual rhetoric, and spatial politics of the Dadaab refugee camps in Northeastern Kenya. Drawing from many years of historical, ethnographic, and visual research in East Africa, South Asia, and Europe, it attempts to move beyond ahistorical representations of camps and their inhabitants, finding long migratory and colonial traditions in the architecture, spatial practices, material culture, and iconography of refugees and humanitarians. Her book manuscript Minnette de Silva and a Modern Architecture of the Past engages the intellectual and heritage work of one of the first women to establish a professional architectural practice and an important cultural figure in the history of Ceylon/Sri Lanka. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art and Archaeology, and a Master of Architecture degree and professional license.

Bryony Roberts is an architectural designer and scholar. Her practice, Bryony Roberts Studio, integrates strategies from architecture, art, and preservation to respond to complex cultural histories and urban conditions. With projects at international sites such as the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome; the Federal Plaza in Chicago; Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, NY; and the Neutra VDL House in Los Angeles, the practice operates across a range of scales from installations to architectural interventions to urban design. Her practice has been awarded the Architectural League Prize of 2018 and has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and the American Academy in Rome, where she received the Rome Prize for 2015-2016. Her work has been featured in the Chicago Architecture Biennial of 2015 and Performa 17, along with exhibitions in Rome, New York, Houston, Boston, and Los Angeles. She has published her research in the Harvard Design Magazine, Log, Future Anterior, and Architectural Record, co-edited the volume Log 31: New Ancients, and recently edited a book titled Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation published by Lars Müller Publishers. Having earned her B.A. from Yale University and her M.Arch. from the Princeton School of Architecture, Roberts teaches architecture and preservation courses at Columbia GSAPP, including “Gender and Architecture,” “Structures of Care,” and “What is Feminist Practice?”