The Politics of Violence as/against/through Architecture

Turkey installs the “Modular Border Security System” along its border with Syria (Ömer Ürer, 26.04.2016)

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Debates
Date: 10/3/2017
Time: 10:00:00
Venue: 37 FFF

HCT/PHD Debates

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.


The Politics of Violence as/against/through Architecture

The past decade has seen a growing body of literature explore the interface of architecture and violence. If this has helped undo such normative dichotomies as war versus peace, destruction versus construction, and barbarism versus civilisation, it has also further complicated the problem of how critical analysis negotiates the dynamics between particularity and universality, description and prescription, and structure and agency. Against this background, this seminar discusses the limitations and possibilities of understanding violence and architecture as intimately entangled with one another. In light of two texts and other relevant cases, we will explore the following questions. How might an architectural history and theory of violence be different from other histories and theories of it? In what ways might an understanding of architecture as a slow or covert mode of violence challenge dominant histories and theories of the built environment? And, ultimately, what are the political stakes involved in considering violence as inherent in architecture, and architecture as a force that institutionalises, legitimises and even produces violence rather than as its other? Eray will introduce the topic in the first third of the seminar, which will be followed by group discussion. Attendees are kindly asked to think of cases from various historical or geographical contexts they find relevant to the material discussed in the readings, and bring to the seminar a short note on and an image of one such case.

Image: Turkey installs the “Modular Border Security System” along its border with Syria (Ömer Ürer, 26.04.2016)


Herscher, Andrew (2008) Warchitectural Theory, Journal of Architectural Education 61(3): 35-43

Weizman, Eyal (2007) Urban Warfare, Hollow Land, London: Verso, pp.185-218.


Eray Çaylı, PhD (UCL, 2015), works at the interface of architecture and anthropology. He is interested in the ways in which the built environment shapes and is shaped by conflict, disaster, and protest, especially in the contexts of Turkey and London. Eray currently teaches Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett and at Syracuse University (London programme), and works as a researcher at the LSE’s European Institute. Further information (including publications) is available at


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