Race Conditions:
an exploration of the spatial operations of whiteness

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How/are classrooms racist? The answer to questions like this may be obvious, depending on your race. While for a privileged group, the architecture of our classrooms may be neutral and colorblind, for others, they are subtly charged, and for some, they inflict violence. In the context of a predominantly white institution like CU, we scrutinize the paradigmatic space of the lecture hall. In this mini-exhibit, we explore visualizations of the ways that the architecture of our campus classrooms facilitate, shape, and perpetuate racialized experiences.

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This is a working exploration of architecture’s complicity in whiteness and racism. Inspired by the work of writers and scholars such as Wendy Leo Moore, Joyce Bell, Claudia Rankine, George Lipsitz, Elijah Anderson, Katherine McKittrick, Adrienne Brown, Dianne Harris, Craig Wilkins, and Rashad Shabazz, among others, we’re hoping to contribute to theorizations of how space itself facilitates racism. 

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How do we conceptualize, frame, and design architectural scales of space? Do we see them as neutral? Colorblind? Are they absent of racial charge, in and of themselves? Are they inherently white?

Do we experience architectural spaces the same way? Depending on skin tone, does our experience of architectural space reveal racialized, oppressive, or even violent logics? 

 

How might we reconceptualize architectural space as racialized as a condition, expression, and facilitator of the construction of whiteness and racism?