Yeah, they were all Yellow: Asian Feminist Architectural Possibilities
Intervention and reflection have been made in the primarily male-dominated architectural field with its phallogocentric Western metaphysics foundation, particularly since the 1980s. Yet much effort has been limited to the Euro-American context with middle-class white women as the primary concern. This seminar aspires to direct our attention towards the intersectionality between race and gender inequality, specifically towards an under-examined group: Asian women. Yellow women are stereotypically considered more transparent and especially problematically objectified in the “Western” milieu. On the other hand, in Asian countries, women face different challenges that are not covered with the dominant Euro-American feminist theorizations due to their particular socio-cultural constructs, that many times result in deeper patriarchal roots. Moreover, the dichotomy and characteristic attribute to male-female along the lines of active-passive are often mapped on to the West-East in the countries' decolonization. These conditions aggravate the structural inequality in the architectural discipline that historically emphasizes a heroic masculinity and thus deserve completely different sets of examinations.
This seminar invites students to engage with the topic of Asian Feminist Architecture from these various perspectives, ranging from the intersectionality between race and gender inequality in the Euro-American context, taking special consideration of Asian women and embodied knowledge, to robust reconsiderations, examinations and theorizations of feminist architecture from Asian contexts that differ in the concerns, challenges, timelines, and socio-historical constructs from the dominant Euro-American one. Moreover, this seminar focuses on the critical and theoretical constructions of architecture from the specific empirical social-political inquiries around Asian women, by rethinking with ornament, housewife, lover, colonial-other, absence, appendage among others thematic nexuses. With such effort, this class aspires to mobilize alternative Asian Feminist envisions for the fundamental structure of the architectural practice that can lead to a more inclusive future.