Deserts Are Not Empty: Online Book Panels

White text

Cover of Deserts Are Not Empty, edited by Architecture Assistant Professor Samia Henni. image / provided

Colonial and imperial powers have often portrayed arid lands as "empty" spaces ready to be occupied, exploited, extracted, and polluted. Despite the undeniable presence of human and nonhuman lives and forces in desert territories, the "regime of emptiness" has inhabited, and is still inhabiting, many imaginaries. Deserts Are Not Empty challenges this colonial tendency, questions its roots and ramifications, and remaps the representations, theories, histories, and stories of arid lands — which comprise approximately one-third of the Earth's land surface. The volume brings together poems in original languages, conversations with collectives, and essays by scholars and professionals from the fields of architecture, architectural history and theory, curatorial studies, comparative literature, film studies, landscape architecture, and photography. These different approaches and diverse voices draw on a framework of decoloniality to unsettle and unlearn the desert, opening up possibilities to see, think, and imagine it otherwise.

Join Samia Henni, editor of Deserts Are Not Empty, and guest speakers for two virtual panel discussions: 

November 7, 12:30–2 p.m. EST
Kassel University, Germany 
With Alla Vronskaya, Samia Henni, Solveig Suess, and Paulo Tavares
Respondent: Mi You

November 9, 1–2:30 p.m. EST
Williams College, USA
With Brahim El Guabli, Samia Henni, Jill Jarvis, and Francesco Robles
Respondents: Michele Monserrati and Katarzyna Piepzak

Deserts Are Not Empty
Edited by Samia Henni
New York: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2022

With contributions from Saphiya Abu Al-Maati, Menna Agha, Asaiel Al Saeed, Aseel AlYaqoub, Yousef Awaad Hussein, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Danika Cooper, Brahim El Guabli, Timothy Hyde, Jill Jarvis, Bongani Kona, Dalal Musaed Alsayer, Observatoire des armements, Francisco E. Robles, Paulo Tavares, Alla Vronskaya, and XqSu.

Designed by Laura Coombs.
Distributed by Columbia University Press.
Supported in part by the Preston Thomas Memorial Lecture Series Fund at the Department of Architecture, Cornell University.

Also of Interest

Close overlay