ARCH 3819/5819/4408/6408
Into the Desert: Questions of Coloniality and Toxicity

Crowd of people on a flat sandy area, a mushroom cloud rises in the sky.

"Small Boy" nuclear test, July 14, 1962, part of Operation Sunbeam, at the Nevada Test Site. photo / ©The National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office Photo Library.

  • Instructor: Samia Henni
  • Time: M 9:10–11:05 a.m.
  • Location: OL
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Urbanism

The world's major deserts — both hot and cold — have often served to search, extract, and transport the deserts' various natural resources, such as oil and gas, as well as to design and build new cities, infrastructures, tourist complexes, farming systems, solar power plants, climate and aerospace research centers, chemical weapons testing complexes, nuclear weapon research centers, and testing sites, and other settlements. How were these designs managed and implemented? What were their impacts on adjacent populations and environments? To what extent did these deserts' transformations influence the politico-economic assets of the governments in question? This seminar is combined with the fall 2020 Preston H. Thomas Memorial Symposium and explores the ways in which politicians, scientists, and architects developed, exploited, colonized, transformed, urbanized, militarized, or polluted the underground or overground territories of a number of deserts in the aftermath of the Second World War.

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