From Land Grab to Landback

September 2023

Department of Architecture Iowa State University with support from the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities
Escuela de Arquitectura Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg
Loudreaders Trade School with support from the Mellon Foundation and re:arc institute

Call for Contributions

Scholars, designers, artists, authors, planners and activists are invited to submit proposals to participate in From Land Grab to Landback: Architecture and Positions on Land. A multimedia and interdisciplinary symposium spanning three continents, From Land grab to Landback explores the role of architecture and spatial practices in the politics of land and water rights, occupation, displacement, sovereignty, property, dispossession, reparations, ecological spoliation, capital, wealth accumulation and distribution, production, and on-going struggles against settler colonialism.  The symposium seeks to bring together diverse perspectives on how the built and destroyed environment shape and are shaped by power relations, struggles for land rights, stewardship, and extraction, and alternative visions of land use and custodianship.

Co-organized by the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University with support from the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, the School of Architecture of the Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, Graduate School of Architecture at Johannesburg, and Loudreaders with support from the Mellon Foundation and re:arc institute, the symposium is part of a series of events, exhibitions, roundtables, and publications to be celebrated in Ames (USA), Rio Piedras (Puerto Rico), and Johannesburg (South Africa).

Abstracts of 300-500 words should address one or more of the following themes:

Histories and geographies of land grab and dispossession

The spatial dimensions of land struggles and resistance

Architecture and design as instruments of colonization and resistance

Reimagining land use

Afroindigenous and indigenous perspectives on land, space, and architecture

Global and local struggles for landback and reparations

Intersectional approaches to land justice and environmental racism
Interdisciplinary perspectives that center contemporary struggles against settler-colonialism and projects that draw on fields such as architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, geography, history, anthropology, environmental studies, and Indigenous studies are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please submit your abstract and/or proposal by June 20, 2023 to, subject: land symposium application, including your name, affiliation, and contact information in a pdf (2mb max).

From Land Grab to Landback is a transdisciplinary symposium and multimedia platform that investigates and offers critical perspectives that tie architecture across different scales to urgent questions about land, territory, property, sovereignty, ecology, and life. In response to planetary-scale calls for social and ecological justice, architecture is called to confront its legacy as the material manifestation of systems of power, occupation, territorialization, extraction, capture, identity, development, and modernity. Drawing from the work, research, and practices of leading international designers, planners, artists, political-scientists, anthropologists, scholars, journalists, philosophers, and activists, the symposium provides an intersectional approach to questions about land, and the many struggles that ensue during an era of technological escalation and ecological urgency. Through a series of talks, film screenings, roundtable discussions, and workshops From Landgrab to Land back: architecture and positions on land engages with many temporalities while looking at the past and present of critical questions on land and architecture. The symposium offers a platform for the presentation and dissemination of critical imaginaries operating in the immediate and distant future.