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Coursera

Reimagining Blackness and Architecture

The Museum of Modern Art via Coursera

Overview

Architecture structures our daily lives. It shapes our homes, streets, neighborhoods, cities and more. But who gets to create and occupy these spaces? In the United States, a long history of anti-Black racism has created spatial inequalities that are built into the physical environment and erased the stories of Black architects and communities.

Reimagining Blackness and Architecture explores the relationship between architecture and Blackness as an identity and a lived experience. You’ll hear directly from Black artists, architects, scholars, and writers who reimagine their surroundings and highlight the ways Black makers have changed the world. You’ll see how architects are working to transform American cities into more equitable places using everything from textiles, hip hop, and fiction to spices and spaceships. And you’ll hear from an international range of artists, who create spaces for their communities and make visible the stories of Black life in their work.

The course is structured around five themes: Imagination, Care, Knowledge, Refusal, and Liberation. Each week, through original films, audio interviews, and readings, you’ll expand your understanding of architecture as a practice that reaches across time, place, and form. Creative activities and prompts for reflection will encourage you to consider your own role in shaping your communities.

Course image credit:
Dawoud Bey. A Couple at a Main Street Bus Stop, Rochester, NY. 1989. Gelatin silver print, 11 7/16 × 22 1/16" (29.1 × 56 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of Ruth Nordenbrook. © 2021 Dawoud Bey

Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Imagination
  • Care
  • Knowledge
  • Refusal
  • Liberation

Taught by

Sean Anderson

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