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Situating Domesticities in Architecture

Organised by the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. Funded by the National University of Singapore Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Seed Fund. Convenors: Lilian CHEE, Simone CHUNG, Jessica COOK.


7 - 8 December 2017

Level 7, SDE, CREATE Tower U-Town, National University of Singapore, Singapore

This international workshop brings together academics working to challenge the established notions of domesticity with relation to home, architecture, and space in order to re-interrogate the inherent relationships of these four tenets. More than the terms ‘home’ and the ‘interior,’ domesticity implicates gender, sexuality, labour, class, ethnicity and taste. It suggests certain productions, be it biological, material, psychological, social or national. Within these diverse domains, domesticity concerns the performative aspect of bodies in space as occupants, tenants, parents, grandparents, children, maids, architects, designers, builders, state-representatives. And, it also involves spatial practices which represent, reproduce, construct and govern these bodies. As such, its scope is necessarily wide-ranging, referring amongst others to ‘domestic sustenance,’ ‘domestic affiliation,’ ‘domestic comfort,’ ‘domestic help,’ and ‘domestic boundaries.’

This workshop provides a forum to discuss these changing relationships affect disciplinary discourses, and the implication on their histories and theories. By highlighting specific aspects of domesticity and domestic spaces/practices, we reconsider the implications that recent national and global changes bring to studies of home and rootedness related to a variety of disciplines including architecture, urban space and planning, geography, anthropology, landscape studies and ethnography. Collectively, we are interested in the politics and poetics of domestic space related to: policies and protectionism, war and territorial conflict, economic liberalization, consumerism and consumption, colonization and decolonization, gender/race/ethnicity, migration, nation building, media culture, and technological developments in building processes and domestic products.

We offer a shared space to articulate how the notion of domesticity can be untangled, unraveled, re-woven, and re-constructed by asking such questions as: How does domesticity allow us to negotiate complex situations and processes while also thinking materially about the lived spaces that produce self and society? What are the disciplinary implications of using domesticity as a critical lens to look at home and identity? Do domestic material expressions contest or cross geopolitical boundaries? Can domestic cultures propose new architectural and spatial outcomes in relation to spatial typologies? Does domesticity provoke new methodologies for representing architectural histories and theories beyond conventional architectural representations of drawings and models as well as architect-driven intentions? Our aim is to instigate the theorization of domestic spaces and ‘homes’ across diverse geographical, political and cultural boundaries and regions; suggesting that there are significant overlaps in our increasingly fragmented world.



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