Thinking Through and Against the Archive: Interview with Samia Henni
From Moa Carlsson
This is an interview with Assistant Professor Samia Henni, in which we discuss her work on the built, destroyed and imagined environment. The conversation was recorded on the 6th of May 2021.
SAMIA HENNI is an architectural historian and Assistant Professor of History of Architecture and Urbanism at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University, USA. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (gta Verlag, 2017, EN; Editions B42, 2019, FR), the editor of the gta papers no. 2 titled War Zones (gta Verlag, 2018), and the maker of exhibitions, such as Housing Pharmacology / Right to Housing (Manifesta 13, Marseille, 2020) and Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (Zurich, Rotterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg, Paris, Prague, Ithaca, Philadelphia, 2017–19). She received her Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture (with distinction, ETH Medal) from ETH Zurich and taught at Princeton University, ETH Zurich and Geneva University of Art and Design. Her teaching and research interests include the history and theory of the built, destroyed and imagined environment in relation to colonialism, displacement, gender, natural resources and wars. Her current book project examines how the French military authorities toxified and transformed the Saharan territories and environments in the aftermath of the Second World War. We were lucky to hear more about this emerging work during Professor Henni’s recent term as a 2021 Geddes Visiting Fellow at ESALA. We were keen to continue the conversation with Professor Henni because her research exposes the multidimensional intersections between the enduring effects of colonialism on the environment and the ways this relationship resonates in architectural history and practice.
Interview Bibliography by Samia Henni
Henni, Samia. Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria. Zurich: gta Verlag, 2017.
Henni, Samia (ed.). gta papers 2: War Zones. Zurich: gta Verlag, 2018.
--Please note that the views expressed by the interview subject are the personal views of the interviewee and not those of the University, the interviewers or the Series organisers.