Architecture and History in a Refugee Camp

Monday, 24 October, 2022 - 16:00

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I present material from the introduction to my book manuscript, Architecture of Migration: The Dadaab Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Settlement (to be published by Duke University Press), which analyzes the history, visual rhetoric, and spatial politics of the Dadaab refugee camps in Northeastern Kenya, as an epistemological vantage point in African and Islamic worlds. The book draws from many years of archival, ethnographic, and visual research in East Africa, South Asia, and Europe, and aims 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. The introduction asks critical questions around what we see when we see a refugee camp, and how to unpack cliches around borders and abjection to instead understand Dadaab as a historical and archival repository, and a critical heritage site.

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