States of Emergency: A Spatial History of the French Colonial Continuum


Monday, February 25, 2019, 7:30pm to 8:30pm


Gund Hall, Rm 109, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The MEdiNA Student Group, Harvard Graduate School of Design presents

Léopold LambertLeopold Lambert
Architect, writer, and founding editor of The Funambulist Magazine

As France recently crystallized the main features of the state of emergency into common law, we ought to examine the history of this exceptional legislation. Drafted in 1955 to crush the Algerian Revolution, it was used three times during this eight-year-long decolonial struggle. Its three later occurrences (in Kanaky-New Caledonia in 1985; in thirty-eight French cities’ banlieues in 2005; and, more recently, in the totality of France and its so-called ‘overseas territories’ between 2015 and 2017) reveal the continuation of French coloniality nowadays in the violence it deploys on the same bodies. From French military “regrouping camps” in Algeria to the banlieues police stations on the one hand, and from Algiers’ Casbah to the Indigenous Kanak barricades on the other, this research focuses on the spaces and architectures that materialize or challenge the French colonial continuum. The talk draws from a forthcoming monograph with the same title, to be published in 2019.

Léopold Lambert is a trained architect, writer, and the founding editor of The Funambulist Magazine. He is the author of three books examining the politics of the built environment: Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence (dpr-barcelona 2012), Topie impitoyable: The Corporeal Politics of the Cloth, the Wall, and the Street (punctum books 2015) and La politique du bulldozer: La ruine palestinienne comme projet israélien (B2 2016). His next book is tentatively called États d’urgence (States of Emergency) : Une histoire spatiale du continuum colonial français (forthcoming 2019).

Co-sponsors: Aga Khan Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
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