USC School of Architecture, Gin. D. Wong Auditorium, Harris 101 View map Free Event
View map Free Event

Presenting "Black in Place: A Spatial History of Black Architectural Modernity" by Charles L. Davis II


Charles L. Davis II is an associate professor of architectural history and criticism at UT Austin’s School of Architecture. His academic research excavates the role of racial identity and race thinking in modern architectural history and contemporary design culture. His current book project, tentatively entitled “Putting Black in Place: A Spatial History of Black Architectural Modernity," examines the formative role of Black space and placemaking in constructing a modernism of racial resistance in the United States. It argues that Black social movements—from the Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter—have radically shaped the built environment by channeling minority expertise toward a shared cultural project of racial uplift in the twentieth century. The long history of this liberation struggle connects the labor and creative genius of the Black master builder to the licensed architect, the socially progressive entrepreneur, Black feminist scholars, anti-prison activists, and youth movements around the country. Acknowledging the communal character of Black space (without anonymizing its individual contributors into a nameless vernacular) enables us to tell the story of this countercultural architectural modernity in a more holistic way.

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