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African Identity in Post-Apartheid Public Architecture: White Skin, Black Masks

A lecture by Jonathan Noble, University of the Witwatersrand.

Monday, April 16, 2012
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
10th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90095

In the early post-Apartheid period, topical questions of African identity and imaginative dialogue with African landscapes, craft, and indigenous traditions have inspired some fascinating and impressive works of public architecture.  These projects represent a unique moment in the history of South African society and raise important political, social and aesthetic issues that warrant careful consideration.  Examining recent public buildings in South Africa, African Identity in Post-Apartheid Public Architecture: White Skin, Black Masks documents the search for new forms of visual and tectonic expression, in response to post-Apartheid society. 

The title White Skin, Black Masks is a reference to Fanon’s classic study of colonised subjectivity in his book Black Skin, White Masks.  Noble contends that Fanon’s metaphors of mask and skin are suggestive for architectural criticism, and that his non-essentialist theories of race, culture and identity provide a theoretical framework for dealing with the visionary quality of the new architecture and its relation to dominant versus repressed (African) forms of architectural expression – political and aesthetic themes that are central to this study as a whole.  The lecture by Dr. Noble will explore some of these key theoretical considerations and introduce the leading themes of his book in relation to the buildings concerned.

Jonathan Noble lectures in architectural history, theory and design at the University of the Witwatersrand.  He is currently responsible for the design Master’s program, as well as various third and fourth year courses.  He holds a B.Arch (professional) and March by independent research (both from Wits University), and a PhD from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Cost : Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day parking ($11) available in lot 3.

UCLA African Studies Center310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, UCLA School of Arts and Architecture

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