Lecture 6. Race, Gender, and Class: African American Female Architects in the U.S.

This lecture examines the double marginalization of African American women in relation to their position as architects and their partnership in the design of the built environment in the U.S. and globally. More specifically, it unveils the absence of their representation through the study of twentieth-century architecture, as this period coincides with African American female architects’ entry into the field. The lecture approach is intersectional as discussing the role of race and racism in the history of architecture intersects with the struggles for gender and class equality. The lecture consists of two parts: Part one examines the works of three African American female architects and their contribution in the architecture discourses; Part two discusses an interview of bell hooks (1995) with LaVerne Wells-Bowie, an African American female architect, on architecture and its politic in Black life and architecture as a cultural experience and racial memory. One main goal of the lecture is to facilitate the understanding of privilege/oppression and (self)awareness about the resistance of African American women as critics, creators, and users of the built environment.

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