- Critical Urbanisms: Theories and Methods Fall 2017
- Histories of Urbanization Fall 2017
- How does the 99% live? World Histories of Housing Fall 2017
- Housing from Above and Below Fall 2017
- Modern Urbanism, Study Trip: Berlin Spring 2018
- Highway Africa Research Studio Fall 2018
- Critical Urbanisms: Theories and Methods Fall 2018
- Studio: Advanced Interdisciplinary Work Fall 2018
- Global Housing Histories Fall 2018
- Global Housing Histories: Current Debates Fall 2018
- Spaces of Uncertainty: Berlin Revisited 2018
- La banlieue, un projet social 2018
- Projective Geographies Between East and West 2017
- Shopping à l'américaine 2017
- Éric Rohmer in Cergy-Pontoise 2017
- Bodenständigkeit: The Environmental Epistemology of Modernism 2016
- Géographie Volontaire and the Territorial Logic of Architecture 2016
- Human Territoriality and the Downfall of Public Housing 2016
- Mapping and Making Community in the Postwar European City 2016
- The Infrastructure of Participation: Cultural Centres in Postwar Europe 2016
- The Cultural Center: Architecture as Cultural Policy in Postwar Europe 2015
- Why we like to blame buildings 2015
- The Social Project – Housing Postwar France 2014
- The Studio and The City: Notes on Architectural Pedagogy 2014
- Where is the social project? 2014
- Use Matters 2013
- Making Camp: Landscape and Community in the Interwar German Youth Movements 2012
- Designing Social Life: The Urbanism of the Grands Ensembles 2010
- The expertise of participation: mass housing and urban planning in postwar France 2010
- Agency in Architecture: Rethinking Criticality in Theory and Practice 2009
- Governing through nature: Camps and youth movements in interwar Germany and the United States 2008
- Towards a Nomadic Geography: Rethinking Space and Identity for the Potentials of Progressive Politics in the Contemporary City 2005
- Spaces of Uncertainty 2002
Kenny Cupers is an architectural and urban historian with expertise in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe and its relationship with the transatlantic world and (post)colonial Africa. His research focuses on questions of human and material agency, the epistemology and geopolitics of modernism, and design as a technique of social intervention.
Cupers is the author of the award-winning The Social Project: Housing Postwar France (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). The book reveals how France’s unprecedented building boom after WWII turned dwelling into an object of modernization, an everyday site of citizen participation, and a domain of social scientific expertise. His edited volume Use Matters: An Alternative History of Architecture (Routledge, 2013) examines how architecture depended on changing definitions of use throughout the twentieth century. Spaces of Uncertainty (Verlag Müller + Busmann, 2002), coauthored with Markus Miessen, explores the importance of leftover spaces for public life in Berlin—a theme he has recently revisited in Spaces of Uncertainty: Berlin Revisited (Birkhäuser, 2018).
Other of his publications concern housing histories and the politics of participation; intersections of design and the social sciences; the role of architecture in the welfare state and its neoliberal transformations; territorial design and economic planning; and cultural landscapes from wastelands and youth camps to the urbanism of street vending. Forthcoming publications include Architecture and Neoliberalism from the 1960s to the Present (co-edited with Helena Mattsson & Catharina Gabrielsson, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019) and La banlieue, un projet social: Ambitions d’une politique urbaine, 1945-1975, the French translation of The Social Project (Parenthèses, 2018).
Cupers received a B.Sc. and M.Sc in Architecture from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), studied photography and cultural theory at Goldsmiths College (London), and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010. He taught in the United States before co-founding the University of Basel’s Urban Studies division in 2015. His teaching integrates approaches from the history and theory of architecture, urban and social history, cultural geography, and the history of science and technology.
Cupers’ ongoing research explores questions of infrastructure, environment, and colonialism. His current book project, entitled The Earth that Modernism Built, situates the development of modern architecture, planning, and design in the politics of land during the age of empire. Focusing on Germany and its global entanglements, the book brings the history of modernism to bear on what it usually ignores, namely the very ground under our feet and our fundamentally colonial relationship to it.
Cupers co-directs Highway Africa, a collaborative research project on infrastructure and decolonization. He leads the SNF-funded project, How Infrastructure Shaped Territory in Africa, and co-coordinates (with PI B. Ayata) the SNIS-funded project, Infrastructure Space and the Future of Migration Management.