Title

All Black Everything: A Critical Examination of the Black Utopia

Date

12-8-2020 9:55 AM

Abstract

Kenyatta Marcelous
Major: Architecture
Scholarly Discourse in Architecture has neglected the Black experience due to white supremacy and has only recently begun to develop an understanding of the qualities of both Black and antiBlack spaces. In this paper, I will consider spaces formulated by Black bodies specifically for Black bodies. I define these as Black Utopias because they are created in direct response to white supremacy. Because Black bodies have only been allowed to participate in architecture in a subservient way, I will be drawing from various forms of black art, Black literature and contemporary black culture to examine and define black utopias. This will demonstrate how black utopias are not homogenous for all black people. The black utopia is an adaptive method of Black escapism that has helped Black people survive and also thrive in a system that relies on both their compliance and their pain and suffering. This is important because this understanding of ideal black spaces as they appear in the minds of black people will help architects challenge cultural normalities within architectural practices and begin to develop new understandings of space as it relates to race.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anna Goodman
Anna Goodman is Assistant Professor at Portland State University. Her work focuses on the politics of architectural practice, including how discourses and aesthetics of labor define professional identity. She received her Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, with support from the Graham and Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundations.

Biographies

Kenyatta Marcelous Major: Architecture Kenyatta Marcelous is finishing up his BA in Architecture with a minor in Black Studies. His work focuses on understanding blackness within scholarly discourse in Architecture. His interest in this subject stem from his childhood skateboarding in the built environment as a young Black kid. “I was always interested in buildings and the space that they occupied. As a skateboarder I always found a way to enjoy these spaces in a way that was unintended, since then I have always questioned spaces and their purpose.” Kenyatta intends to become an architectural designer and continue his studies in higher education. Kenyatta hopes to one day teach after obtaining his PhD in an effort to close the gap between academia and the architectural profession.

Disciplines

Architecture | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33527

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Aug 12th, 9:55 AM

All Black Everything: A Critical Examination of the Black Utopia

Kenyatta Marcelous
Major: Architecture
Scholarly Discourse in Architecture has neglected the Black experience due to white supremacy and has only recently begun to develop an understanding of the qualities of both Black and antiBlack spaces. In this paper, I will consider spaces formulated by Black bodies specifically for Black bodies. I define these as Black Utopias because they are created in direct response to white supremacy. Because Black bodies have only been allowed to participate in architecture in a subservient way, I will be drawing from various forms of black art, Black literature and contemporary black culture to examine and define black utopias. This will demonstrate how black utopias are not homogenous for all black people. The black utopia is an adaptive method of Black escapism that has helped Black people survive and also thrive in a system that relies on both their compliance and their pain and suffering. This is important because this understanding of ideal black spaces as they appear in the minds of black people will help architects challenge cultural normalities within architectural practices and begin to develop new understandings of space as it relates to race.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anna Goodman
Anna Goodman is Assistant Professor at Portland State University. Her work focuses on the politics of architectural practice, including how discourses and aesthetics of labor define professional identity. She received her Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, with support from the Graham and Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundations.