ARCHHTC 701 : Architecture and Political Philosophy

Creative Arts and Industries

2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines the political role of architecture and urban space with emphasis on works of Michel Foucault. Analysis of the ways in which architecture constructs habits and habitats in relation to philosophical concepts.

Course Overview

This seminar aims to familiarise students with the political role of architecture and urban space. Emphasis is placed on the focused exploration of key notions drawn from selected readings in political philosophy mainly by Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Chantal Moufee and David Harvey. Students will be equipped with methods for deploying philosophical concepts as a tool to analyse the ways through which architecture constructs our habits and habitats in negative or positive ways. We will analyse how architecture is constrained by various financial, socio-political, cultural and/or military forces whilst it has agency to generate real alterative worlds. Students will be familiarised with the inherit spatial dimension of numerous global crisis, including but not limited to, the structural racism embedded in urban planning, the brutal treatment of asylum seekers, the desire for spaces of commerce to accumulate capital for the few rather than civic spaces to enable the agency of citizenship, the micropolitics and surveillance of social distancing during the pandemic, global warming, food scarcity, and modern forms of slavery. The seminar aims to explore this thesis that we can no longer afford to reduce architecture to neutral backdrop of political realities, architecture is a political force in and of itself.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate broad understanding of the relation between political philosophy and contemporary architectural theory. (Capability 1.1, 2.1, 2.3 and 3.3)
  2. Develop an independent academic research approach within architectural discourse. (Capability 5.1 and 5.3)
  3. Discuss and analyse the relationship between the formation of architecture and socio-political, economic and cultural forces. (Capability 2.3 and 6.3)
  4. Demonstrate improved written and verbal communication skills. (Capability 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1, 5.3 and 6.3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 20% Individual Coursework
Assignments 10% Individual Coursework
Presentation Individual Coursework
Weekly submissions 20% Individual Coursework
Final Essay 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Weekly submissions
Final Essay

To pass the course, students have to submit all the assignments and submissions.

Teaching & Learning Methods

This course is internally assessed. During the semester, each student will conduct a systematic literature review, create two images, present a 30-min seminar on a research topic, will write a summary of selected readings, and will then develop their presentation into an essay of between 3,000 - 3,500 words (excl. footnotes and bibliography). The seminar presentation is not graded but provides the opportunity for formative feedback and is essential for meeting terms, i.e. if a student does not present a seminar, then their essay will not be accepted and will not be graded. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in. For this course, you can expect 10 hours of lectures followed by group discussion , 12 hours of student presentations followed by group discussion, 12 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and the rest on assignments preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars will not be available as recordings.
The course will include group discussions.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Other Information

This course is 2-hrs weekly lectures, discussions and seminars. Relevant lecture materials will be available for you to download from Canvas the afternoon after the lecture.

Late submissions will be considered on medical and special grounds when supported by a health or other professional, and when the application is made according to the procedure below. Requests for extensions of time must be submitted and approved before the due date unless there are exceptional circumstances. Students applying for an extension of time must obtain an Extension of Time Form for Coursework Submission from the School of Architecture and Planning Office (6th Floor of the Architecture Building, Building 421, 26 Symonds Street) and complete the required details. Late submission forms must be accompanied with the appropriate sign by faculty staff. Coursework not received by the due date, and for which no extension of time has been approved, will receive the grade ‘DNC’ (Did Not Complete).


Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 04/11/2021 10:26 a.m.