For the basis of the review of Abeer Seikaly’s project “Meeting Points”, I have identified four books that might offer a critical feminist basis for my writing. First, The Sex of Architecture, where editors Diana Agrest Patricia Conway compile a series of essays based on a conference held at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. The essays in the book offer a feminist or “gendered perspective” on architecture and space. Similarly, the book Architecture and Feminism, published in the same year, 1996, presents critiques and feminist readings of architecture, literature and art. Both feature essays by Mary McLeod on otherness and other spaces. In Negotiating Domesticity, Hilde Heynen and Gulsum Baydar explore the engendering of social roles through architecture and subversion of these roles. Finally, in Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture, Lori A. Brown challenges the definition of architecture and present relationships between feminist methodologies and a variety of approaches to design. Specifically, the centering of issues and communities that were previously overlooked or devalued by architects. These books will offer a perspective not only on the gendered space of architecture, but on the practice itself and the activity of women in architecture.
Part of the project statement by Seikaly speaks of the dynamics of the relationship between architect and client. On the subject of community and alternative ways of practice, I hope that the book by Nishat Awan, Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till will provide examples and analysis of projects that challenge the traditional architect-client/community relationship. In the article “Spatial Misreading: South Africa’s Urban Future Seen from Within a Township Shack,” from the book Reading the Architecture of the Underprivileged Classes, Matthew Barac discusses what happens when architectural solutions are created without consideration of the affected community and without community involvement. The example presented in the article and the analysis could provide an analogy to the case of the Bedouin communities in Jordan both in terms of governmental attempts to house them and in terms of this project.
The final component I wish to examine in this review is women’s work and the idea of invisible architecture rather than vernacular architecture. The labor-intensive process of weaving “Meeting Points” and Bedouin tents involves labor made invisible due to the sex of the laborers involved. Indeed, it would have been labeled as mere craft rather than art or architecture. Annapurna Mamidipudi’s article will serve as a starting point to examine the social dynamics and attitudes towards weaving. In addition, the politics and social construct of making and labor, especially in relation to textiles and weaving will be examined through the texts in Livingstone and Ploof’s “The Object of Labor” and Swenarton, Troiani and Webster’s “The Politics of Making.”
Agrest, Diana., Patricia. Conway, and Leslie. Weisman. The Sex of Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.
Awan, Nishat., Tatjana. Schneider, and Jeremy. Till. Spatial Agency : Other Ways of Doing Architecture. Abingdon, Oxon [England] ;: Routledge, 2011.
Brown, Lori A. Feminist Practices : Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture. Farnham, Surrey ;: Ashgate, 2011.
Coleman, Debra, Elizabeth Danze, and Carol Henderson. Architecture and Feminism : Yale Publications on Architecture. 1st ed. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996.
Heynen, Hilde., and Gulsum. Baydar. Negotiating Domesticity : Spatial Productions of Gender in Modern Architecture. London ;: Routledge, 2005.
Livingstone, Joan, and John. Ploof. The Object of Labor : Art, Cloth, and Cultural Production. Chicago, Ill: School of the Art Institute of Chicago Press, 2007.
Mamidipudi, Annapurna. “Crafting Innovation, Weaving Sustainability: Theorizing Indian Handloom Weaving as Sociotechnology.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39, no. 2 (2019): 241-248. muse.jhu.edu/article/730985.
Elleh, Nnamdi. Reading the Architecture of the Underprivileged Classes : a Perspective on the Protests and Upheavals in Our Cities. Farnham, Surrey ;: Ashgate, 2014.
Schick, Irvin Cemil. “Representing Middle Eastern Women: Feminism and Colonial Discourse.” Feminist Studies 16, no. 2 (Summer, 1990): 345. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3177854
Swenarton, Mark, Igea Troiani, and Helena Webster. The Politics of Making. Oxford: Routledge, 2007.