Design for the Pluriverse: Space, Ecology, Difference

Undergrad course, Williams College (fall 2022), Instructor

Space plays a central role in structuring how people enact, reproduce, and refashion social relations over time. Spatial forms, such as architecture and urbanism, are enmeshed in relationships, contestations, and processes of change. This course investigates the built environment as enabling or preventing specific spatial practices, mainly those of underrepresented communities. We will study the role of Western technical rationality in producing and maintaining racist, heteropatriarchal, and ecocidal forms of oppression. Using approaches from transition design and techniques from activist design, students will work in pairs to re-imagine a space where different ways of being in the world can thrive and coexist–the pluriverse.

In this course, students may work in any of the following media or discourses: video/documentary, photo reportage, performance, graphic narrative, activist art, digital humanities (cartographies, countermapping, oral histories, digital archives), 2D/3D modeling, or physical model. Students will participate in tutorials plus a final project of significant scope. Evaluation will be based primarily on the quality of the final project, but also on participation in tutorials.