Thursday, Oct 19, 2023

POSTPONED – NEW DATE TBA; Fall 2023 Sciame Lecture Series: Noam Shoked

Forms of Power and Mobility in a Bedouin Town


Thursday, Oct 19, 2023

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Sciame Auditorium (Room 107)
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031

Noam Shoked headshot

Please note this lecture has been postponed. A new date will be announced. 

This lecture will be in person and is part of the Fall 2023 Sciame Lecture Series, titled "Crosscurrents: Architecture, Landscape, and Spatial Practices in Southwest Asia and North Africa."

Noam Shoked is a scholar of the built environment. His work focuses on the relationship between politics and architecture in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories. His book, In the Land of the Patriarchs: Design and Contestation in West Bank Settlements (University of Texas Press, 2023), explores five decades of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. He is currently an assistant professor of architecture at Tel Aviv University.

"Forms of Power and Mobility in a Bedouin Town": The conversation about the (formerly nomadic) Bedouin population in Israel has centered around land: the land they lost, the land they were moved to. This presentation shifts the focus to the buildings they build and inhabit. It explores how the Bedouin have been transforming the urban plans devised to settle them, by building statement-houses that draw their design inspiration and labor, as well as their building material, from Arab countries. The design, construction, and inhabitation of these houses—which first appeared in Bedouin towns and later followed the Bedouin to Jewish-dominated suburbs—subtly circumvent the cultural and political borders of Israel. Arguably, they may presage the creation of a bi-national space. By examining the Bedouin villas, this talk describes how domestic architecture—its design and use—can function as an active participant in a process of indigenous claim for inclusion that goes beyond the stark narratives of resistance and subjugation.

Suggested Reading: Noam Shoked, “Housing Others: Design and Identity in a Bedouin Village”, International Journal of Islamic Architecture 8, No. 2 (July 2019): 307–35.

"Crosscurrents: Architecture, Landscape, and Spatial Practices in Southwest Asia and North Africa" probes the radical reimagining of the region compelled by the expression Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA). In recent years, the acronym SWANA has gained currency among architects, landscape architects, urbanists, and historians who conceptualize the territories of the Middle East and North Africa through geography and place rather than colonial frameworks. The term “Middle East” was a British invention, a tool used to advance colonialism in a region where so many national borders resulted from imperialist interventions. In the Fall 2023 Sciame Lecture Series, groundbreaking designers, scholars, practitioners, and activists chart multiple—and sometimes competing—currents in the architecture of the region and its diasporas, while displacing essentializing colonial narratives. To do so, speakers from across the area shed light on global, transnational, and diasporic human stories about design, space, landscape, and architecture in SWANA, and advance new ideas about territory, buildings, places, histories, and belonging.

All lectures are free, open to the public, and held in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Sciame Auditorium.

See for current requirements for in-person visitors.

This lecture series is made possible by the Spitzer Architecture Fund and the generous support of Frank Sciame ’74, CEO of Sciame Construction.

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