What does it mean to be loyal? To a discipline, to its institutions, to a practice, to yourself…?
With these questions, we are interested in addressing issues of race, religion, and subjectivity in relation to architecture, cultural politics and spatial relations. As Muslim people of color working at the margins of architecture, art and social practice, we have always felt like infidels since we are not loyal to the discipline and its institutions, but neither are we loyal to the multiple belongings of ourselves. Yet, infidelity is neither refusal, criticality nor counter politics. It is a fertile ground that emerges through a certain discomfort with institutional power, social and moral codes, and rules that attempt to regulate behaviors. It has the potential to create transversal relations across difference.
If you feel such discomfort, we are looking to build affirmative agencies with you, wherever you may be.
In architecture, fidelity often translates to notions of accuracy and definition that lend a particular legitimacy and universality to forms of knowledge production. Conversely, infidelity might signal a mode of working with imprecision found through lower resolutions. By resolution we do not only mean the density of pixels in an image or screen, but the many technological processes that underpin the production of images and architectural representations. What kinds of designs might an ephemeral and imprecise approach to the digital produce? Ephemerality is also a quality of marginalized environments, such as those of the refugee camp, where an array of other design vocabularies challenge the glossary of mainstream architectural design. The camp produces its own temporality where terms such as ‘durability,’ ‘permanence,’ ‘sustainability,’ ‘infrastructure,’ and ‘urban’ can no longer be considered fundamental qualities of architecture.
Could infidelity be a way of thinking through forms of knowledge and knowing that have been left aside or labeled as ‘exceptional’, ‘local’ or ‘indigenous,’ suitable only for those geographies from which they arise? The colonial inheritance that shapes the grounds of academia tends to prioritize certain forms of knowledge as legitimate, to have a fidelity, and to be following a rigorous (and particular) methodology. Paradoxically, within design practice and theory, methodology becomes a crutch to evade meaningful processes of epistemic de-positioning and repositioning. In such a context, infidelity is a means to making worlds otherwise, outside universalized western paradigms. It signals our disloyalty to ontologies inapplicable to our pluriversal interests and incapable of making worlds that work for us. Such disloyalty is found in Chris Cornelius’ drawings reimagining Alcatraz, or David Fortin, Eladia Smoke, Wanda Dalla Costa and Elder Winnie Pitawanakwat’s Indigenous Peoples’ Space. It is also found in Feda Wardak’s work of building with communities at night while challenging systems of surveillance, Cave Bureau’s Anthropocene Museum and Dr. Thandi Loewenson’s “Whisper Network.”
What might infidelity mean as pedagogy? To operate within gendered and racialized institutional contexts, we, like all other marginalized peoples, take on personas to navigate the oppressive structures we call our working lives and contexts for study. As Moten and Harney have stated, the university might still be a refuge of sorts, but it is not the enlightened space we would want it to be, and so ‘one can only sneak into the university and steal what one can.’ We appropriate their phrasing to note that the only possible relationship to the university today is an infidel one; we know that to exist we must learn to be both inside and outside. Our engagements necessarily proliferate copies of ourselves and of our disciplines whose fidelity might be considered poor.
For this issue of the Journal of Architectural Education, we are looking for essays, designs, narratives and images (un-mappings, modified film-stills, text/picture chimeras, visual elegies, laments, ghazals, war-cries, love songs and drum beats…) that can build affirmative agencies across our diverse positionalities and locations. We are interested in thinking with infidelities as relations capable of producing other architectures and dreaming of new institutions that see disloyalty and inaccuracy as ethical modes of engagement. How might we produce infidel methodologies that not only question how, but who and what gets to be regarded as the poor copy? Why are certain traditions of thinking not allowed entry into the hallowed grounds of architectural theory? Why are Sufi cosmologies not allowed space next to Deleuzian virtualities? How might we as infidel researchers, practitioners and theorists, queer the conditions that shape our relationships with our multiple environments? How do we account for the situated knowledges we embody? What are the spatial implications of new vocabularies of infidel telling, writing, and making? Beyond the fictions of mainstream architectural production and pedagogy, what other worlds does an epistemology of infidelity open up for design?
The submission deadline for all manuscripts for this theme issue is July 31, 2023. Accepted articles will be published in issue 78.1 (Spring 2024). For author instructions please consult the author guide.
 Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Minor Compositions, 2013), 26.
WRITING/IMAGING: HEART BEATS AND DRUM-BEATS
1. Jamaal May – A Brief History of Hostility
2. Brian Doyle – Joyas Voladoras
3. Katherine McKittrick and Alexander G. Weheliye – 808s and Heartbreak
4. Nass el Ghiwane – Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0vW3QJz3hQ&list=PLOFQ6rf2hbhQu9KNxq1P_c…
METHODS/STRATEGIES: MAKING AND UNMAKING
1. Linda Tuhiwahi Smith. “Introduction.” In Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books, 1999.
2. Christina Sharpe. In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.
3. Glen Coulthard. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.
4. Gayatri Spivak. Outside in the Teaching Machine New York: Routledge, 2012.
5. Fred Moten and Stefano Harney. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Minor Compositions, 2013.
6. Winter School: Wolff Architects, with Ola Hassanain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTiniheUm3U
7. Sara Ahmed. Living a Feminist Life. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017.
8. Sara Ahmed. “Complaint as Queer Method.” Feminist Killjoys (blog). 24 March 2022. https://feministkilljoys.com/2022/03/24/complaint-as-a-queer-methodb/
9. Sara Ahmed. “Wound Up.” Feminist Killjoys (blog). 4 January 2017.https://feministkilljoys.com/2017/01/04/wound-up/
LANDSCAPES/WORLD-SCAPES: KNOWING AND UN-KNOWING
1. Zoe Todd and Anja Kanngeiser. “From Environmental Kin Study to Environmental Case Study.” In History and Theory, Vol 59, No. 3, 2020, 385-393.
2. Nasra Abdullahi + Miriam Hillawi Abraham. “The Horn of Africa: Fracturing Timelines.” In The Funambulist. 21 June 2021.https://thefunambulist.net/magazine/they-have-clocks-we-have-time/the-ho…
3. Zoe Todd, Ozayr Saloojee and Émélie Desrochers-Turgeon. “Kerogenic Relations.”https://202122.transmediale.de/almanac/kerogenic-relations
4. Menna Agha and Ola Hassanain. There, is the city… And, here are my hands. Prague: VI PER Gallery, 2021.
5. Africa is a Country (http://www.africasacountry.com)
ERROR, (IM)PRECISION AND UNLEARNING
1. Francesca Hughes. The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure, and the Misadventures of Precision. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014.
2. Ariella Aïsha Azoulay. Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism. London ; Brooklyn, NY: Verso Books, 2019.
3. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. “Queering Homophily.” In Pattern Discrimination, edited by Apprich et al. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2019. https://mediarep.org/bitstream/handle/doc/13259/Pattern_Discrimination_5…
4. Donna J. Haraway. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press Books, 2016.
5. Jack Halberstam. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.