Fall 2022

A person holding a cello next to a large spacecraft and a person holding a saxophone.

The Mothership is a P-Funk/Afrofuturist inspired traveling DJ booth which was one of several projects that landed at ONE Mile. AKOAKI, O.N.E. Mile Detroit, Michigan, 2014–2018.

Design Justice Workshop: Community/Engagement: Methods for Critical Theory and Design (ARCH 6318/6418, ROMS 6310, SHUM 6308)

Thursdays 11:20–1:15 p.m.

Course Instructors: Suzanne Lettieri, architecture; and Karen Pinkus, Italian and Comparative Literature

This Design Justice Workshop introduces Phase III of Cornell's Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities.

Course Description: Critical engagement with communities and the structures of inequity challenge designers and humanists to think across a range of scales, systems, and experiences that exist outside of academia. Innovative modes of "fieldwork" conditioned by environmental thought, critical archive studies, mapping, and narrative may empower existing communities but also actively produce alternative, more equitable, and imaginative forms of scholarly work. With Detroit as a case study, this seminar will challenge participants to think about engagement and community, two words in wide circulation in various contexts. We will begin with a series of seminars at around questions such as: What constitutes a community of artists/designers/thinkers, and what forms of exclusion are implied or enacted? How do you build reciprocal creative relationships in complex social conditions? Where does the scholar/designer stand in relation to a community she studies? What methods are ethically or intellectually fruitful for engagement? How do we locate resistance to insidious forms that may detrimentally impact a community? We will spend the last week in September in Detroit interacting with high school students from University of Michigan's Architecture Preparatory (ArcPrep) program, local artists and activists, seeing the city through their lenses. We will visit archives, alternative "museums," sites of collectives and art and urban farms. After our return to Ithaca, we will use the classroom as a laboratory for Architecture and Humanities students to collaborate on critical design and writing projects inspired by our visit. Students are encouraged to pursue their own research interests in languages other than English and contexts other than U.S.-based as appropriate. Readings will include works by scholars and activists such as Jean Luc Nancy, Giorgio Agamben, Silvia Federici, L.R. Beltrán, Kristin Ross, P. Freire, Clyde Woods, R. Esposito, Gloria Anzaldúa and others, to help think about new possibilities for community engagement. Students selected for the seminar will be fully funded for the visit to Detroit and will receive a stipend of $1500.

Application Process: Interested students should submit applications via the Experience Cornell website at  https://experience.cornell.edu/opportunities/mellon-collaborative-studies by June 10, 2022. Application materials include a C.V. and a 500–700-word statement of interest describing your background and interest in the seminar topic. No letters of recommendation are required.

Questions? Please contact Lauren Brown, leb69@cornell.edu, in AAP Student Services.