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HMS-201B Literary/Critical Studies Architects II

3 Credits

This introductory seminar is in correspondence with your architectural design studio and is intended to help you challenge and develop your ideas about the relationship between space, the body and the built environment, as well as to give your practice in both articulating these ideas and relating them to the context, syntax and intention of your architectural investigations in the studio. In this seminar, as a way of building on the work you did in HMS 101B, we'll broaden the understanding of the form of language your developed in that class by engaging with a variety of texts to help you examine the content of language out it the world and its place in architecture. We will begin by developing distinctions between the notion of language and culture and explore the understanding that language is performative, produced through representation, perception and experience of the material environment, and mediated through many different forces (cultural, symbolic, social). The emphasis of the second semester course is on post colonial theory and critical race theory. As a way to feed these explorations, we will study texts from a range of fields such as literature, film, criticism, science, philosophy, architecture, and cultural theory, and then create a conversation between these texts and your own ideas through a variety of writing challenges. The pace of the seminar allows for greater reflexivity and thoughtful construction of ideas that are presented in the studio. In many ways, the literary and critical studies seminar is the nodal point for all of the other courses in the architecture program; it is in the seminar that you will learn to practice reflexivity through speaking, performance and writing. We will divide our work into three units, each of which requires you to focus on a different medium and a different type of academic writing; as the final project of each unit, you will produce a written essay that engages with both a primary text (such as a novel, a film, a work of architecture or your own final project in the architectural design studio) and the theoretical/critical; texts and concepts we have discussed during the semester. In each unit, you will first complete a series of pre-draft assignments form which you will develop (and substantially revise) an essay; for the research assignment of the course, you will produce a ten-page essay. At the end of the term you will turn in a complete portfolio with all of the essays you have produced this semester, and a reflection on the revisions of the essays.