Bhabha for Architects (Thinkers for Architects) by Felipe Hernandez

By Felipe Hernandez

The paintings of Homi okay. Bhabha has permeated into a number of courses which use postcolonial discourse as a way to investigate architectural practices in formerly colonized contexts, quite in Africa, Asia, the Middle-East, South-East Asia and, Latin the USA. Bhabha's use of the idea that of ‘space’ has made his paintings hugely attractive to architects and architectural theorists.

This introductory ebook, particularly for architects, makes a speciality of Bhabha’s seminal ebook The place of Culture and reveals how his paintings contributes to architectural thought and the research of latest architectures ordinarily, not just in colonial and postcolonial contexts.

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Before moving on to the second aspect, it is worth mentioning that this form of cultural representation, or translation, simplifies (or essentialises) colonised subjects and their cultures. The representation of colonised subjects through simplified concepts such as black, effeminate, sexualised, uneducated, insincere or savage is, as Benjamin puts it, a denial of the heterogeneity and historical transformation of languages and cultures. In fact, Bhabha refers to this labelling of the people as ‘colonial stereotyping’: the fixing of cultural, historical and racial difference to excessively simplified descriptions.

To do so, the primary focus is on Bhabha’s most influential book, The Location of Culture, although essays published in other books, journals and magazines will be brought into the discussion. Chapters 2 and 3 are, to some extent, a continuation of the Introduction. They provide basic historical background about colonialism, the colonising mission and the strategies used in order to construct and exercise colonial power. The terminology of postcolonial theory, which is often considered difficult and confusing, is also explained in these two chapters as a 21 INTRODUCTION way to facilitate the understanding of other aspects of Bhabha’s theory studied further in the book.

With the notion of the ‘diaspora’ (in this instance referring to Muslim people who live outside Muslim nation-­states) Bhabha makes the location of the ‘Muslim world’ imprecise, unbound by geopolitical borders; his definition includes Muslim nation-­states as 18 INTRODUCTION well as Muslim individuals and communities around the world. It is not that nations and national borders have no relevance in the world today. Bhabha insists that borders do exist and, given the conditions of global market economy, their relevance is perhaps stronger than ever before – nation-­states and national borders are needed precisely so that an ‘inter-­national’ economy can exist.

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