Forest Histories: The Architectures of Amazonia

ARCH 7123/ LARP 7803

Vanessa Grossman

Friday, 9:00AM-11:44AM

This course will explore the various agencies and practices that have inquired and shaped what anthropologist Neil Lancelot Whitehea has called the world’s “last frontier for the study of history”: Amazonia. Currently threatened by deforestation, fires and drought, the Amazon is the ancestral home of more than one million indigenous peoples. Through the analysis of case studies drawn from a transcalar account of architecture, landscape design, and land use planning, from pre-Columbian times to the present, the seminar will examine how wilderness has been shaped and how architecture, cities, infrastructure, and agriculture have been implemented, raising important considerations about the relationality of humanity in coexistence with other life forms, cultures, ecologies, and ancestral lifestyles. The course will critically examine colonial cycles of resource extraction, governance, and development policies with their plans for urbanization and modernization, which to this day have severely triggered the loss of human and non-human species and their habitats—with profound effects on the climate worldwide.

Students will collaboratively curate and produce an exhibition that presents the case studies analyzed through research-based documentation, including graphic materials (i.e., drawings, models, and/or other objects), audiovisual materials (i.e., films, recorded interviews, TV shows, and advertisements), and textual resources.

Flyer for course "Forest Histories."


Spring 2024