Amani Morrison

Domestic Architecture and Spatial Performance in Great Migration Chicago

How can we understand domestic practice and dwelling space as indicative of particular—and peculiar—social, political, and historical environments? This project engages how the kitchenette apartment—a primary symbol of black southern migrant experience in 1940s and 50s Chicago—both exposes and contains black people’s negotiations of outsider status vis-à-vis the nation. I am interested in understanding how architectural designs construct the way that bodies move through these home spaces, as well as how living proximity and class status in a neighborhood or apartment building shapes how residents might perform “being at home.” I analyze the built environment of black home spaces as they are represented through architectural blueprints/drawings, photographs, and dramaturgical cues in the stage directions of plays of the period.