The Settler Colonial City Project is a research collective focused on the collaborative production of knowledge about cities on Turtle Island/Abya Yala/The Americas as spaces of ongoing settler colonialism, Indigenous survivance, and struggles for decolonization.
The concept of “settler colonialism” has recently emerged as a name for a distinctive form of colonialism that develops in places where settlers permanently reside and assert sovereignty. While the settler colonial dimensions of American cities have been centered in contemporary urban activism, these dimensions have been, at best, only tentatively explored in contemporary architectural and urban studies. Investigating the settler colonial history and contemporaneity of cities on Turtle Island/North America (and similar examples beyond), we aim to foreground Indigenous knowledge of and politics around land, life, and collective futures, as well as settler colonialism as an unmarked structure for the distribution of land, possibilities of life, and imagination of those futures.

2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago
American Indian Center, Chicago
The Night Gallery, Chicago

—Mapping Chicagou/Chicago
—Decolonizing the Chicago Cultural Center
—The Petro-Biennial Complex
Palace of the People
At the Border of Decolonization



Decolonizing the GAR

SCCP 2019
At G.A.R. Memorial Hall, Chicago Cultural Center

The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall joined the Chicago Public Library as a part of the original program for what became today's Chicago Cultural Center. In this Memorial Hall, soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War are remembered and honored. To memorialize the Civil War, however, is also to memorialize the Indian Wars that were initiated by and connected to the Civil War, each part of the westward advance of the United States empire and the colonization of the west.
        The Civil War was not only a conflict over slavery; it was also a conflict over the way in which the United States empire would develop. The victorious Union did not only take dominion in the South, the domain of the former Confederacy; it also took dominion in the West, the domain of Native Americans both ancestrally and more recently, as "Indian Removal" displaced many Native Americans to spaces west of the Mississippi.
        During the era of post-Civil War Reconstruction, many former Union soldiers, along with many former soldiers of the Confederacy, became shock troops redeployed to the frontier as the West was settled. And so, the Chicago Public Library and the G. A. R. Memorial Hall were not only two separate programs; they were also components of one and the same program, the program of the westward expansion of the United States empire accomplished by settler colonialism.