Felicity D. Scott is Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the program in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture (CCCP) at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning. Her research focuses on articulating genealogies of political and theoretical engagement with questions of technological transformation within modern and contemporary architecture, as well as within the discourses and institutions that have shaped and defined the discipline.

In addition to publishing numerous articles in journals, magazines, and edited anthologies, her book, Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics After Modernism, was published by MIT Press in 2007, and “Living Archive 7: Ant Farm”, appeared on ACTAR Editorial in 2008. She recently completed a book manuscript entitled Cartographies of Drift: Bernard Rudofsky’s Encounters with Modernity, and is working on a book entitled Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-Insurgency, 1966-1979 to be published by Zone Books. Felicity is also a founding co-editor of Grey Room, a quarterly journal of architecture, art, media, and politics published quarterly by MIT Press since Fall 2000.

Lecture: “Voluntary Primitivism”
Monday November 5, 2012 at 14:30 to 16:30 – Campus in Camps Al Feneiq Center, Deheishe Refugee Camp by Felicity D. Scott

This lecture will address the Open Land communes which emerged in Northern California during the late 1960s, focusing in particular on the escalating “code wars” that their attempts to abandon private property rights, normative forms of life, and other trappings of modernity and capitalism elicited from the State. What, it will ask, might have motivated this portion of the American back-to-the-land movement to open their land to anyone who wished to settle? Why did they adopt practices of “voluntary primitivism” in the domains of shelter, hygiene, agriculture, medical care, and education in the name of an ethics of care, both of the self and of the earth? And why did the State react so violently against these practices? In addition to explicating their problematic forms of identification with alterity—whether with native Americans, 19th century frontiersman, or war refugees in Southeast Asia—the rise of mysticism which came to stand in for environmental knowledge, and the ambiguous political status of subjects within this “outlaw territory.”

The lecture will read these counter-conducts and, more specifically, their corresponding counter-architectures to have quite precisely identified the contours of an increasingly administered environment. Hence, I will argue, they can be read to have critically operated upon key biopolitical elements of the period’s governing apparatus.

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Lecture: Voluntary Primitivism By Felicity D. Scott – Part 1

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