Samia Henni's teaching and research interests include the history and theory of the built and destroyed environments in relation to colonialization, forced displacement, gender, nuclear weapons, and wars from the first wave of European colonization to the present. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (EN, 2017; FR, 2019), the editor of Deserts Are Not Empty (2022) and War Zones: gta papers 2 (2018), and the maker of exhibitions such as Archives: Secret-Défense? (2021), Housing Pharmacology (2020), and Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (2017–21).
Currently, she is working on an exhibition project, Performing Colonial Toxicity, and a book project, Colonial Toxicity: The French Army in the Sahara, in which she examines France's nuclear weapons program and atomic bomb infrastructure in the Algerian Sahara.
Henni was the inaugural Albert Hirschman Chair (2021–22) at the Institute for Advanced Study at Aix-Marseille University and a Visiting Geddes Fellow (2021) at Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh. Henni taught at Princeton University, ETH Zurich, The University of Zurich, and the Geneva School of Art and Design. She studied at the École polytechnique d'architecture et d'urbanisme in Algiers; Accademia di Architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana in Mendrisio; The Berlage Institute in Rotterdam; and at Goldsmiths, University of London. Henni received her Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture (with distinction, ETH Medal) from ETH Zurich.
Academic Research/Specialty Areas
- Architectural history
- Architectural theory
- Conflicts, revolutions, counterrevolutions, and wars
- Colonial histories, postcolonial, and anticolonial theories
- Natural resources extraction and nuclear energy
- Cornell AAP Faculty and Alumni Respond to the Venice Architecture Biennale's Call to Reflect and Reimagine
- Ola Uduku: Aid by Design?
- Deserts Are Not Empty: Online Book Panels
- In a Colonial Project There Is No Exchange
- Edition IX—Bodies and Technologies (2022–23)
- ARCH 1801-5801 History of Architecture I: Empires and PeopleThe history of the built environment as social and cultural expression from the earliest to more recent times. Themes, theories, and ideas in architecture and urban design are explored, beginning with the earliest written records.
- ARCH 3819-6408 Gender, Architecture, IntersectionalityThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of History of Architecture and Urbanism. The instructor(s) of the course are drawn from the permanent and visiting faculty who may either broadly or narrowly define the course's scope and content. For precise content, please see the Architecture Department webpage.
- ARCH 3819-6408 Wars and Built EnvironmentsThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of History of Architecture and Urbanism. The instructor(s) of the course are drawn from the permanent and visiting faculty who may either broadly or narrowly define the course's scope and content. For precise content, please see the Architecture Department webpage.
- ARCH 6805 Practicum: Tell Me About Your ArchiveThis course exercises history of architecture and urbanism's capacities for affecting contemporary events through critical associations with the past. The workshop culminates in an exhibition, publication, symposium, curricular initiative, or other public occasion. Enrollment of qualified graduate students from associated fields is encouraged.
Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)
- Albert Hirschman Chair for Identity Passions Between Europe and the Mediterranean, the Institute for Advanced Study: Mediterranean Exploratory of Interdisciplinarity (IMéRA), the University of Aix-Marseille (2021/2022)
- Geddes Visiting Fellow, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh (2021)
- Spiro Kostof Book Award, Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria, by The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), Chicago (2020)
Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)
- Housing Pharmacology, an exhibition commissioned by Manifesta 13 Marseille, supported by Ammodo, Drosos Foundation and Pro Helvetia, at the Museum of the History of Marseille, Marseille (2020)
- "Archival Violence," lecture, the doctoral school "Unearthing Traces: Dismantling Imperialist Entanglement of Archives and the Built Environment" organized by Denise Bertschi and Julien Lafontaine Carboni, Institute of Architecture, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (2021)
- "Toxic Architecture," lecture, the University Ss. Cyril & Methodius, Faculty of Architecture, Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia (2021)
- "Exhibition as a Form of Writing: On Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria," in PARSE journal: On the Question of Exhibition, edited by Nick Aikens, Kjell Caminha, Jyoti Mistry, and Mick Wilson (2021)
- "The Coloniality of an Executive Order," Canadian Centre for Architecture, Journeys and Translations series (2020)
- "Anticolonial Remedies: From Colonization to Globalization," Perspecta 53: Onus, Yale Architectural Journal edited by Caroline Acheatel, Paul J. Lorenz, Paul Rasmussen, and Alexander Stagge (2020)
Samia Henni (ed.). Deserts Are Not Empty. New York: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2022.