• Architecture of Migration: The Dadaab Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Settlement
    Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi
    Duke University Press, 2023
    Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, a provisions shop on the outskirts of Ifo camp where people first encounter settlement at Dadaab, Kenya, 2011. Courtesy the author

This publication analyzes the architectural and environmental history, visual rhetoric, and spatial politics of the transitional settlements at Dadaab, established by the UNHCR in 1991 on the border of Somalia in Northeastern Kenya. From this epistemological vantage point in the African and Muslim world, the book moves beyond ahistorical representations of camps, finding long migratory and colonial traditions in the architecture, spatial practices, material culture, and iconography of refugees and humanitarians. It is based on years of archival, ethnographic, and visual research in Africa, Asia, and Europe, within contested territories and areas of armed conflict. Intended for open-access publication to reach the widest readership, the book’s image program preserves the ephemeral camp architecture, archiving everyday life in a militarized zone. The book will be accompanied by an exhibition at the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi, including commissioned works by artists and architects from Africa and elsewhere, engaged in countermapping and drawing Dadaab.

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi is an architectural historian at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her work centers African and South Asian questions of historicity and archives, heritage politics, and feminist and colonial practices. Alongside Architecture of Migration: The Dadaab Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Settlement (Duke University Press, forthcoming), she is completing a book manuscript tentatively titled A Modern Architecture of the Past, which examines heritage politics in South Asia, in part through the through the feminist and environmental work of Minnette de Silva (1918–1998), a theorist of an Asian modern architecture and one of the first women in the world to establish a professional architectural practice as sole principal (in 1947 Ceylon). Siddiqi edited “Architecture as a Form of Knowledge” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (CSSAAME). She co-edited “Feminist Architectural Histories of Migration” on the open-access platforms Architecture Beyond Europe, Canadian Centre for Architecture, and Aggregate; as well as Spatial Violence (Routledge, 2019). She directs the Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Difference working group Insurgent Domesticities and co-chairs the University Seminar, Studies in Contemporary Africa.