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Ginger Nolan | "Biopolitics in the Wilderness"

19 March 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Organized by: MIT Department of Architecture
Venue: MIT Department of Architecture, 7-429/Long Lounge
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge
02139

"Biopolitics in the Wilderness: The Architectures and Media of Settler Colonial Citizenship"

 

Responding to Michel Foucault's thesis that sometime between the mid-18th and 19th centuries "population" came to displace "territory" as the primary object of governance, this talk proposes that perhaps no displacement was necessary, given that the governance of population became a primary vehicle for territorial conquest and management, especially through the device of settler colonialism. Looking at mid-twentieth-century Kenya, this talk examines, firstly, how media, architecture, and aesthetics supported the merging of civilian and military functions within the colonial settler's person and practices, and, secondly, how architecture and media helped transform the displaced--the colonized--into biopolitical agents of territorial management. Underlying this history is the unsettling ambiguity of modern constructs of citizenship, which are often founded on notions of the political self as an agent of territorial proprietorship.