An Otomí Leader and an Architecture of Indigenous Reclamation

Oct 17
1:00 pm
2:00 pm

This program is part of the Alignments in the Indigenous Design Process series, developed in collaboration with the Indigenous Society of Architecture, Planning and Design. Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples were among the first architects of our built environment to design structures synchronized with nature and seasonal changes, aligned with the cosmos, and honoring our holistic relationship with a larger system. This series will present processes and projects with an array of alignments with natural and artificial elements that are woven into Indigenous spatial design methodologies.

Tracing the story of a young leader of the Otomí resistance against the neoliberal state in Mexico City, this lecture focuses on the Indigenous appropriation of a building previously used by an assimilationist arm of the Mexican government. Since the 2020 rebellious takeover, the building has been transformed by the Otomíes into a house for the Indigenous peoples of all Mexico. A broader aim of this presentation is to contend for the need to register spaces of resistance such as this one, which demands that architectural history develop analytical tools beyond its traditional reading of form and language. The historical relevance of these subversive spaces manifests in the more particular aim of this talk, which is to show the significance of an architecture of resistance in the empowerment of a young Indigenous woman, whose activism awoke when she saw her community occupy and transform the building. Her leadership in the struggle against the legacies of colonialism was built in parallel with the agency of her people both to claim spaces for Indigenous communities in the country's capital and to reshape an architecture that would disseminate the message of Indigenous resistance throughout Mexico.

Tania Gutiérrez-Monroy, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia

About the Speaker:
Tania Gutiérrez-Monroy is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in the University of British Columbia. She studies architecture as a material and signifying practice that spatializes colonial and patriarchal forces as well as resistance mechanisms. Her research focuses on the ways in which different categories of identity intersect, are negotiated in, and transform space. Thematically, her work spans: historical examples of ephemeral and practised architectures, race and gender in spaces of conflict, and landscapes of Indigenous resistance. Prior to joining UBC, Tania was an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after being the 2021-2022 Emerging Scholar Fellow at the G. Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. from McGill University and was trained as an architect at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She has also taught architectural history, theory, design, and research methods at the University of Houston, the University of British Columbia, Louisiana State University, and Université Laval.

This event is offered virtually. If you register for a virtual ticket, you will receive an email with a Zoom link to access the program.

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