Huda Tayob explores, through ethnographic research and studies of oral history, the largely multi-storey arcades of Cape Town, South Africa as spaces of refugee inhabitation as part of Toolkit for Today: In the Planetary Field. These spaces are located in urban margins, yet perform the circulation of transnational spatial stories, practices, people and goods. In tracing the emergence and relationship of similar sites from Cape Town to Nairobi and Minneapolis, she argues for recognising these as ‘black markets’ drawing on AbdouMaliq Simone’s framing of black urbanism to frame the local specificities of racialised urbanism and locate these spaces within broader landscapes of forced migration, informal global trade and transnational networks of care established and maintained by female labour. These market sites raise the question of boundaries between fields and archives, along with disciplinary and geographic assumptions of the ‘global south’.
Huda Tayob is History & Theory Programme Convener and co-leader of Unit 18 at the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg. Her doctoral research looked at the spatial practices of African migrants, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Cape Town, with a particular focus on mixed-use markets established and run by these populations. Tayob’s wider academic interests include a focus on minor and subaltern architectures, the politics of invisibility in space, and the potential of literature to respond to archival silences in architectural research. Her recent publications include Subaltern Architectures: Can Drawing ‘Tell’ a Different Story (Architecture and Culture, 2018), the open-access curriculum co-authored with Suzanne Hall, Race, Space and Architecture (LSE, 2019), the open access website RaceSpaceArchitecture.org and Architecture-by-Migrants: The Porous Infrastructures of Bellville (Anthropology Southern Africa, 2019).
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