The Black Skyscraper
Architecture and the Perception of Race
Johns Hopkins University Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in ArchitectureNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network February 25, 2019 James West
Adrienne Brown joins the New Books Network this week to talk about her fascinating 2017 book, The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), which was a recent recipient of the Modern Studies Association’s First Book prize.
Tracing the interconnected histories of the skyscraper and racial thought between the 1880s and the 1930s, Brown provides a sophisticated account of how vertical as well as horizontal expansion within the modern American city helped to shape perceptions and understandings of race and racial difference.
Drawing on a rich array of material, including art, literature, architectural design and urban planning records, The Black Skyscraper explores architecture’s effects on the process of seeing and being seen as a racialized subject. In this bold and deeply interdisciplinary work, Brown demonstrates the centrality of race to modern architectural design and the impact of the skyscraper on perceptions of race in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.