- Ph.D., Graduate Program in the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, Binghamton University
- AA, Diploma, Architectural Association School of Architecture
- B.E.S., School of Architecture, University of Waterloo
C. Greig Crysler completed his professional training in architecture at the University of Waterloo, Canada and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, UK. He obtained his Ph.D from the Graduate Program in the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, at Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY) in 1999. His research focuses on the theories and practices of architecture, urbanism and the built environment in the context of globalization, activism and the politics of cultural identity. His research currently operates in two domains. In the first, he has been concerned with rethinking the histories, epistemologies and practices of architectural theory. His first book, Writing Spaces: Discourses of Architecture, Urbanism and the Built Environment (Routledge, 2003) examines emerging debates on globalization processes and transnational culture, as they emerged in a range of journals between 1960 and 2000, and considers their implications for architectural theory. These arguments are developed further in the Handbook of Architectural Theory (Sage, 2012), which he co-edited with Hilde Heynen and Stephen Cairns. The Handbook contains forty chapters of original research organized thematically around the points of intellectual debate and social change that are reshaping the terrain of contemporary architectural theory. The collection is interdisciplinary and global in outlook, with contributors from diverse geographical, institutional and cultural backgrounds.
The other major of strand of Crysler’s research explores how architecture participates in social forces such as neoliberal globalization, nationalism and nationhood, collective violence and the spatial politics of urban life. He has published comparative case studies of national memorials and museums organized around representations of collective violence and trauma. The research examines the role of somatic experience, aesthetics and affect in shaping intended and alternative discourses of national citizenship. These concerns are also explored in a collection of essays he contributed to, and co-edited, with Maria Moreno Carranco, Julie-Ann Boudreau and Guenola Capron. Entitled Spaces of Fear: Bodies, Walls, Cities, the book examines the relationship between space and the aesthetics of fear in North American cities [forthcoming from the Metropolitan Autonomous University Press, in the Fall of 2019]. A second collection develops related concerns in the context of Mexico City. Entitled Mexico City: Materiality, Performance and Power, the book was developed as part of a year-long teaching program led by Crysler through UC Berkeley’s Global Urban Humanities Initiative, and funded by the Mellon Foundation. Seven material conditions (earth, water, concrete, pigment, blood, waste and rubble) define the book’s chapter organization, with each organized around a specific site in Mexico City. The book brings together students and faculty from UC Berkeley and various institutions in Mexico City, in a unique experiment in interdisciplinary scholarship across national borders. A third major collaboration, co-authored with the cultural geographer Shiloh Krupar, is entitled Waste Complex: Capital/Ecology/Citizenship. The book investigates the cascading financial and environmental disasters of the last two decades through waste epistemologies and practices. Their research builds on scholarship about the Anthropocene, planetary risk, and ecological biopolitics to rethink urban and architectural theory in relation to foreclosed cities, toxic landscapes, and transformed conditions of citizenship. The book will published in 2019 as part of the Society and Space series edited by Stuart Elden for Sage Publications.
With the introduction of his seminar Architecture, Ethics and Activism in 2010, Crysler established a new teaching and research focus around questions of social justice, design and difference that draws together many of his prior concerns with spatial politics. In parallel with his teaching in this area, he is completing a three-part series of articles on the histories, political standpoints, modes of practice and pedagogy associated with what has variously been described as “design activism,” or “public interest” design. Published in Field: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism, the first two parts of the series deal respectively with the politics of expertise and scale in design activism. Part Three, on exchange relations, is forthcoming in 2019.
As Arcus Chair, Crysler leads an overlapping program of teaching, research and service concerned with social justice and the built environment. In the Spring semester of each academic year, he offers a seminar based on his research as Arcus Chair. The Arcus Seminars are laboratories for rethinking the relationship between theory and practice; a site of comparative inquiry into the role of space and creative agency in contemporary political dissent; and a context for speculation on the definition and practice of ethics in the global present. In 2017, the course examined emerging formations in queer theory, through the lens of intersectionality. Organized around thematic frameworks ranging from transgender cultural theory to queer necropolitics, the seminar attracted both graduate and undergraduate students from 13 disciplines across the Berkeley campus. In the Spring of 2019, the Arcus Seminar will focus on spaces of dispossession, ranging from landscapes of foreclosure and ecologies of risk, to those of legal exception, forced migration and graduated citizenship. Processes of dispossession will be traced into urban and architectural conditions and examined in relation to responses in new forms of socially engaged art and architecture, and related practices associated with “spatial justice.”
The teaching initiatives of the Arcus Chair operate alongside extensive efforts in the realm of university and community service. Recent initiatives include an innovative partnership with the Queer Cultural Center in San Francisco foregrounding interdisciplinary practitioners working at the intersection of queer theory, activism and cultural production across scales and disciplines—from visual arts, literature and film to architecture and urban design. Other initiatives include an Emerging Scholars program, designed to bring queer students from institutions of higher education across the Bay Area together in supportive, open-ended frameworks for intellectual exchange and public debate; an experimental Internship Program concerned with the public histories of marginalized communities in the Bay Area and beyond; and the Differences Beyond Recognition colloquium, which stages lectures, workshops and other public events that explored the creative potential of cultural difference in the environmental design disciplines. Crysler also led the creation and implementation of the Arcus/Places Prize, a biennial award that funds an innovative scholar to give a lecture and complete a related piece of public scholarship at the intersection of gender, sexuality and the built environment. Past recipients include the noted architectural historian, Alice T. Friedman, and the transgender cultural critic, Jack Halberstam. Their research is published in Places Journal, an internationally respected source of scholarship on architecture, cities and the public realm.
In addition to his activities as Arcus Chair, Crysler has contributed extensively to the life of the CED through his service activities. He has been a member of the Department of Architecture's PH.D committee since 1999, and his served on a wide range of Ph.D dissertation, M.S. and M.Arch thesis committees. Crysler also served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies from 2008-12, during which time undergraduate services in the CED were restructured, plans for a fourth major in sustainability were launched, and the framework for renewing the college-wide Lower Division curriculum was developed. He was the inaugural Director of the Department of Architecture's Berkeley Connect program, an undergraduate mentorship and academic enrichment program. He was reappointed as Associate Dean in 2018, and continues to use his position to foster equity, community-building initiatives and progressive public culture in the CED. In 2017, Crysler was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity. He transferred the $10,000 prize to the CED’s Office of Undergraduate Advising to support the creation of academic mentorship and career programs for the CED’s First Generation students, an initiative now underway in collaboration with advising staff, faculty and CED students.
- Selected Publications
“Critical Pedagogy and Architectural Education.” Journal of Architectural Education, May 1995, Vol 48. No. 4, pp. 208-17
“Silent Itineraries: Making Places in Architectural History.” in A.D King, (ed.). Representing the City. Ethnicity, Capital and Culture in the 21st Century Metropolis, (London: Macmillan,1996), pp.203-26
“Angels in the Temple. The Aesthetic Construction of Citizenship at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum” Co-written with Abidin Kusno for Art Journal (Spring, 1997), pp. 52-64
“Writing Spaces: Cultural Translation and Critical Reflexivity in the TDSR,” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Vol. XI, No. II (Spring, 2000), pp. 51-59
Writing Spaces: Discourses of Architecture, Urbanism and the Built Environment, 1960-2000 (New York and London: Routledge 2003)
“From Flesh to Fiberglass: ‘Cows on Parade’ in Chicago,” in Katerina Ruedi Ray and Charles Waldheim (eds.), Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004)
“Violence and Empathy: National Museums and the Spectacle of Society” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (Spring 2006): 19-38
“Comparative Alterities: Native Encounters and the National Museum,” in Madhuri Desai and Mina Rajagopalan (eds), Colonial Frames/Nationalist Histories (Farnham, UK: Ashgate Press, 2012), pp. 105-36
Principal Editor, with Stephen Cairns and Hilde Heynen; Section Editor, Sections 3, 4 and 7; Handbook of Architectural Theory (London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2012
“Introduction: Architectural Theory in an Expanded Field” co-authored with Stephen Cairns and Hilde Heynen, Handbook of Architectural Theory (London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2012), pp. 1-22
“Time’s Arrows: Spaces of the Past,” The Handbook of Architectural Theory (London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2012), pp. 325-339
“Between the Cloud and the Chasm: Architectural Journals, Waste Regimes, and Economies of Attention,” in Daniel Maudlin and Marcel Vellinga (eds), Consuming Architecture: On the Occupation, Appropriation and Interpretation of Buildings (London and New York: Routledge 2014), pp. 276-294
“The Paradoxes of Design Activism. Part One: Expertise,” Field: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Criticism [Spring, 2018]: http://field-journal.com/issue-2/crysler
“Groundwork: (De)Touring Treasure Island’s Toxic History,” in Lynne Horiuchi and Tanu Sankalia (eds.) Urban Reinventions: San Francisco’s Treasure Island (University of Hawaii Press, 2017), pp. 175-86
“The Paradoxes of Design Activism. Part Two: Scale,” Field: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Criticism [Spring, 2018]: http://field-journal.com/issue-10/the-paradoxes-of-design-activism-expertise-scale-and-exchange-part-two-scale
C. Greig Crysler, Maria Moreno Carranco, and Julie Ann Boudreau, with Guenola Capron, “Introduction,” and C. Greig Crysler, “Strange Dust: The Matter of Fear at Ground Zero,” in Maria Moreno Carranco, et al, Spaces of Fear: Bodies, Walls, Cities [UAM Press, forthcoming Fall 2019]
C. Greig Crysler and Shiloh Krupar, Waste Complex: Capital / Ecology / Citizenship, co-authored book manuscript [forthcoming in 2019 from Sage Publications, as part of the Society and Space series, edited by Stuart Elden]