Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture
Affiliated faculty, Department of Art History


Thank you for your interest in my work. My writings should be available through most libraries, and if not, please contact me via email for access, or with any other questions. Please feel free to make an appointment to meet in person or over skype, using the scheduler on this page.

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi joined the faculty of Barnard College in 2018. She specializes in histories of architecture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with focus on African and South Asian questions. Her work examines modernity, urbanism, and migration through diverse forms of aesthetic and cultural production. She is interested in problems of historicity and archives, decoloniality, heritage politics, and feminist historiography.

Professor Siddiqi's book manuscript Architecture of Migration analyzes the history, visual rhetoric, and spatial politics of the Dadaab refugee camps in Northeastern Kenya. Through the architecture of refugees and the spatial practice, material culture, and iconography of humanitarianism, the book examines a long tradition of migration and coloniality, drawing from historical, ethnographic, and visual approaches and several years research in East Africa, South Asia, and Europe. Siddiqi is also developing a manuscript that engages the intellectual work of Minnette de Silva, a cultural figure from Ceylon/Sri Lanka, and one of the first women to establish a professional architectural practice. This research informs her broader work on the dynamics of architectural modernism, craft, urbanism, and heritage in the Indian subcontinent, and on East African and South Asian historical intersections.

Professor Siddiqi is the author of The L!brary Book (Princeton Architectural Press) and co-editor of Spatial Violence (Routledge), and her writing appears in The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, The Journal of Architecture, Humanity, Architectural Theory Review, Grey Room, e-flux Architecture, The Funambulist, Harvard Design Magazine, The Avery Review and the volume Things Don't Really Exist Until You Give Them A Name: Unpacking Urban Heritage. She was awarded fellowships by the Harvard University Mahindra Humanities Center, the New York University Provost and Gallatin School, the Fulbright Scholar Program, the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Graham Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art and Archaeology, and a Master of Architecture degree and professional license. She practiced architecture in Bangalore, Philadelphia, and New York and her professional background includes work for nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations including the United Nations Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation, and the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Academic Focus: 

architectural history and theory,  migration, urbanism, modernism and modernity in Africa and South Asia


Fall 2019. Modern Architecture of South Asia. This course examines architectures, built environments, institutions, figures, discourses, educational curricula, and contested territories producing the spatial, visual, material and aesthetic in the South Asian subcontinent and its diasporas in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fall 2019. Histories of Architecture and Feminism. Working in the Barnard College archives and in dialogue with scholars building feminist historiographical intersections with architecture, art, urbanism, geography, territory, ecology, technology, and material culture, this course examines how histories of architecture and feminism are narrated and shaped.

Spring 2019. Modern Architecture in the World. How has architecture been “modern”? This course will introduce students to things, practices, figures, and ideas behind this contentious and contradictory concept, emerging across asymmetries and disparate worlds during the past two centuries. 

Fall 2018. Architectural Histories of Colonialism and Humanitarianism. This course examines the connected histories of colonialism and humanitarianism through architecture. In doing so, it takes seriously the problematics of decolonizing the study of architectural history.

Fall 2018. Histories of Architecture and Feminism. See above.

Awards & Honors: 

Society of Architectural Historians Founders’ Award, 2019. For the article “Architecture Culture, Humanitarian Expertise: From the Tropics to Shelter, 1953-1993” in The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Fulbright Scholars Program Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship, 2016-2018

American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Fellowship, 2016-2017

Graham Foundation Grants to Individuals, 2016

Presentations / Recent Lectures: 

“A Modern Architecture of the Past: Reading Minnette de Silva.” Cornell University South Asia Program, 2019.

“Architecture of Migration.” Princeton University, Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities Research Forum, Locating Politics, 2019.

“‘Whenever in Need, They Would Go To Each Other’: Sri Lankan Narrations and Architectural Schemes by Minnette De Silva.” Harvard University Mittal South Asia Institute, 2019.

“Decoloniality and Architecture.” Yale University, Yale Council on Middle East Studies Colloquium and Yale Architecture Forum lecture series, Building Flows: Race, Migration, and Resistance in Architecture, 2019.

“Architecture of Unsettlement and Emergency in East Africa.” Columbia University, University Seminar Studies in Contemporary Africa, 2018.

“Decoloniality in the Camp and the University.” Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Keynote Lecture, Inside Out - Outside In: Shifting Architectures of Refugee Inhabitation symposium, 2019.

“New Methods for the Old': Modern Architecture, Craft, and the Labors of Minnette de Silva.”  Jaffna University Department of Fine Arts, and Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design, Tradition or Trans/formation? Craft, Practice and Discourse, 2018.

“Learning from Dadaab: Architectural History in a Refugee Camp.” MIT Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture Lecture Series, 2018.

“From Sri Lanka to the World: Minnette De Silva, Architecture, and History.” Columbia University Collins/Kaufmann Forum for Modern Architectural History, 2018.

“Humanitarian Homemaker, Emergency Subject.” National University of Singapore Department of Architecture, Situating Domesticities in Architecture, 2017.


Spatial Violence, co-edited with Andrew Herscher. London: Routledge, 2016. Volume in Special Issues as Books series adapted from Architectural Theory Review 19:3 (December 2014).

Writing With: Togethering, Difference, and Feminist Architectural Histories of Migration.” In “Structural Instabilities,” edited by Daniel Barber and Eduardo Rega, e-flux Architecture (2018).

“On Humanitarian Architecture: A Story of a Border." In Contemporary Refugee Timespaces dossier, Humanity 8.3 (Winter 2017), edited by Angela Naimou.

“Crafting the Archive: Minnette De Silva, Architecture, and History.” The Journal of Architecture (December 2017), 1299-1336.

“Architecture Culture, Humanitarian Expertise: From the Tropics to Shelter, 1953-1993.” The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 76.3 (September 2017), 367-384.

“Traversals: In and Out of the Dadaab Refugee Camps,” with Alishine Osman. In “Urban Divides,” edited by Meghan McAllister and Mahdi Sabbagh, Perspecta 50, Yale (September 2017), 173-191.

“In Favor of Seeing Specific Histories.” Grey Room 61 (Fall 2015), 86-91.


500H Diana Center

Office Hours: 

Ph.D. New York University Institute of Fine Arts

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