• In Search of African American Space
    Jeffrey Hogrefe and Scott Ruff
    Tina M. Campt, Sarah Caples, Radiclani Clytus, J. Yolande Daniels, Ann S. Holder, Everardo Jefferson, Walis Johnson, Elizabeth J. Kennedy, Rodney Leon, and Marisa Williamson
    Lars Müller Publishers, 2020
    Jeffrey Hogrefe & Scott Ruff

Rodney Leon Architects, The Ark of Return, 2015, United Nations, New York.

If the African American experience emerges from the structure of slavery, what does architecture have to say to that experience and what can the formerly enslaved say to an architecture whose primary purpose is to fortify the state. Aligning architecture practice with contemporary discourse in Africana studies, the anthology uncovers the spatial typologies of the African diaspora for the design of public monuments and memorials together with practices of vernacular citizenship to locate the wills, thoughts, and feelings of enslaved persons before and after Emancipation. For the most part, architecture is employed to contain, regulate, survey, and punish the African American body. In Search of African American Space presents a fractal-like experience of an emerging architectural typology of satire, enjoyment, pleasure, and illumination.

Jeffrey Hogrefe is associate professor of humanities and media studies and the founding coordinator of The Architecture Writing Program, a transdisciplinary collaboration of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Architecture at Pratt Institute, and author of articles published by the Modern Language Association and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He is completing work on a long term book project, The Abolitionist Landscape Project for Utopian Futures, a remapping of the Potomac River Valley to reveal the erasure of the memory of the abolition of slavery and indigeneity.

Scott Ruff is visiting associate professor of architecture at Pratt Institute and author of critical articles on African American space and subjectivity, including “‘Signifyin’: African American-Language to Landscape” (Thresholds no. 35, 2009). Ruff is the principal of RuffWorks Studio, a research and design studio specializing in culturally informed projects and community engagement that includes The Guardian Institute, a cultural center for the preservation of Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans.