Spring 2023

Agrarian Questions Under Extended Urbanisation

As the prospect of complete urbanisation increasingly becomes a concrete rather than abstract reality, architecture and urban studies is consistently confronted with the agrarian question. This research seminar introduces some of the key concepts and ideas around the agrarian question and extended urbanisation in agrarian territories.

This course attempts a systematic engagement with the agrarian questions in its many facets and intersections with architecture and extended urbanisation. It explores the agrarian questions under extended urbanisation in the 21st century through surveying some of its current discourses and debates. Each week, the seminar participants will be introduced to a new facet of the agrarian question organised along the various thematically designed sessions.

The introductory sessions will bring the agrarian question in a world historical perspective through exploring land settlement under colonialism, and the various revolutions and counter-revolutions that emerged in its wake in the global countryside. A further set of sessions will explore the question of food through discussing food sovereignty, food regimes, urban farming, and the future of food. A central facet of the seminar will be the question of land and labour, which will be discussed through the themes of global depesentisation, migration, land enclosure, and primitive accumulation. Lastly, the seminar will explore the contemporary entanglements between the agrarian question and urbanisation through considering global supply chains, carbon forestry, and urbanism in the agrarian territories.

Each of the thematic session will include at least three recommended readings. The course participants will prepare short presentations based on these readings in groups of two followed by a moderated discussion between the participants. Based on the readings, the participants are encouraged to identify alternatives and imagine the possibilities for architectural and urban practice in agrarian territories.