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Summer Semester 2021

Wednesdays, 12h-14h

• Webinar


Women and Public Space

Daniela Ortiz dos Santos

Let’s begin with a few questions on the title of this seminar: What and for whom does public space mean? And what (and for whom) does ‘woman’ mean in contemporary architectural and urban writings? While analyzing Western feminist critique, Sara Ahmed maintains that narratives considering ‘woman’ as generic term can often be dangerous and excluding (AHMED, 2014, 182; AHMED, 1996, 76). Similarly, ‘public space’ is a complex notion and has political effects. It has plural meanings, which are shaped and built on a tension between individual and socio-historical attributions to meanings of expressions in everyday life (TOPALOV, 2010).

This seminar proposes to challenge generic definitions. It recognizes a plurality of complex meanings situated in space and time and argues for building histories embodied in social actors. It intersects urban and architectural studies with histories of feminism, with anti-colonial histories, as well as with social and cultural studies of global inequality, displacement and everyday life. Our efforts are to shift from a panoramic historical perspective on gender in urban research, but to propose a platform to exchange situated positions, propositions and narratives. The seminar examines, on the one hand, women’s representation and participation in architectural and urban writing; on the other hand, it provides critical tools for constructing more complex narratives in the context of urban studies.

The Chair of Architectural History of the Art History Department of the Goethe University focuses in the Summer Semester 2021 on the question of the city and on urban studies. It invites students to consider urban history as an important interdisciplinary field of knowledge that shall not be detached from the histories of art and architecture. In this seminar, there is more room for open questions than static assumptions. It includes six synchronous sessions to discuss assigned readings, three asynchronous sessions, two guest talks and an internal colloquium.

Guests: Luísa Bogossian (Laboratorio de Estudos Urbanos/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and Renata Campos Motta (Lateinamerika-Institut /Freie Universität Berlin).


summer semester 2021 | wednesdays, 12h-14h (online) |art history department | goethe university frankfurt

contact: Daniela Ortiz dos Santos