The Arab City: Architecture and Representation


Amale Andraos- dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation-  has published an adaptation of her introduction “The Arab City in Representation” in the newly published 300 pages book “The Arab City: Architecture and Representation” that is  just out this June. The book, introduction and article build on last year’s conference ‘Architecture and Representation: The Arab City’. The conference sessions themselves were streamlined at the time and the videos  of the sessions can be viewed here,   here , here and here. With a keynote by Tim Mitchell with a focus on capitalisation and the city-as corporation which  is free to read.  I remember the conference was impressive in terms of scale, speakers and the themes and questions it brought up, and I was happy to be able to follow it despite being on different continents.

The question of representing the Arab city is one that haunts students who look into the politics of urbanism, specifically for those of us who came of academic age with the passing away of Edward Said.  I structured one of the courses I convened based on the question of representations of Cairo. In terms of pedagogy  it was a main source of anxiety,  since it meant a sort of academic complicity in several acts of power at time.  Eventually I opened it as the focal question for students to think along with me. One day I will blog about that course.