The Bartlett School of Architecture


Gender and Infrastructure: Intersections between Postsocialist and Postcolonial Geographies

04 March 2021–05 March 2021, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm

My Socialist Home

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Iulia Statica with Professor Barbara Penner

This event will take place on Zoom.


Gender and Infrastructure: Intersections between Postsocialist and Postcolonial Geographies investigates the relationship between gender, subjectivity and space, specifically the ways in which this is experienced and theorised in postsocialist and postcolonial contexts. 

In the socialist context, theorists have emphasised the links between infrastructure, in particular mass housing and ideology. Scholars of postcolonial geographies have in turn interrogated the relationship between technologies of governance and the infrastructural transformation of colonial territories. In both cases, infrastructure functions to effect the realisation of social, political and cultural projects and represents one of the most significant and long-lasting legacies that shapes postsocialist and postcolonial experience. In spite of the interwoven complexity of infrastructures, political, and social transformations, the question of gender remains neglected. 

Acknowledging epistemological differences and differentiated historical contexts that determine these intricate and often contradictory discourses, the colloquium aims to reassess the role of infrastructure in mediating the interaction between postsocialist and/or postcolonial spaces and varying conceptions of gendered subjectivities and agency.

Drawing on contemporary theoretical and spatial perspectives to investigate these specific contexts, the colloquium addresses three major themes.


Intersections I and II

The theme of intersections is approached from a double perspective: one epistemological, the other material.

Intersections I will bring to light epistemological overlaps and differences between postsocialist and postcolonial contexts, focusing on the ways in which the encounter between gender and infrastructure is articulated.

Intersections II will emphasise the encounter — both material and ideological — between Eastern Europe and Africa, focusing on the role of architecture in global discourses of socialism.


This panel investigates discourses of the body and their role in the transformation of the spatialisation of political paradigms, discussing intergenerational social reproduction through mechanisms that point to the biopolitical role of infrastructure.


This panel focuses particularly on one type of infrastructure – mass housing – and on the role of the domestic space as an aspect of governance that mediates political and social conditions and imaginaries. It investigates the ways in which housing functions in the production of human subjectivities, and explores its role in shaping particular hierarchies, habits and gender relations.


Schedule and participants

Thursday 4 March

15:00 - 15:15: Introduction

  • Barbara Penner, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
  • Iulia Statica, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

15:15 -16:30: Panel 1: Intersections I

  • Sharad Chari, University of California at Berkeley
    Postsocialism Without Socialism: Prefigurations of the Postcolonial Predicament in an Anti-Apartheid City
  • Madina Tlostanova, Linköping University
    The Darker Colonial Side of the (Post)Soviet Project, or Why the Postcolonial and the Postsoviet Rarely Hear Each Other? 
  • Respondent: Michał Murawski, SEES UCL

 17:00 - 18:30: Panel 2: Infrastructures

  • Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, Barnard College
    Domesticity in Emergency: Infrastructures of Solidarity and Intimacy
  • Anna Puigjaner, GSAPP Columbia
  • António Tomás, GSA Johannesburg University
    Fitting the Family Within: Housing, Urban Transformation and the Formation of the Postsocialist Order in Postcolonial Luanda
  • Respondent: Tania Sengupta, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Friday 5 March

13:30 - 15:00: Panel 3: Bodies

  • Kristen Ghodsee, University of Pennsylvania
    Infrastructures of Solidarity: East-South Alliances During the United Nations Decade for Women, 1975-1985
  • Iulia Statica, The Bartlett UCL
    Infrastructure and Natality: Gender, Reproduction and the Domestic Space of Socialist Bucharest
  • Lilian Chee, National University of Singapore
    The Go-between: Embodying Affect in Architecture
  • Respondent: Jane Rendell, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

15:30 - 16:45: Panel 4 : Intersections II

  • Łukasz Stanek, University of Manchester
    From Eastern Europe to Africa: Women Architects in the Global Cold War 
  • Agnieszka Kościańska, University of Warsaw//University of Oxford with Jill Owczarzak, John Hopkins University
    From “The East Speaks Back” to Postcolonialism, Intersectionality, and Gender in Eastern Europe
  • Respondent: Peg Rawes, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Final Remarks



Image: Still from My Socialist Home, Iulia Statica and Adrian Câtu, 2021