Remembering Algerian Independence

Watch the Recording Here

Date: Friday, March 25

Time: 1:00 PM

On the 60th anniversary of Algeria's independence, join us for a virtual conversation with architectural historian Samia Henni and UVA professor Sheila Crane. Henni and Crane will discuss questions of material violence, archives and democracy explored in Henni's exhibition, "Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria." 

The exhibition is hosted by UVA's Democracy Initiative at the Bond House and open for individuals and classes to visit from Monday, March 21 - Friday, April 1 from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.  If possible, please connect with Frances Capaccio ( of the Democracy Initiative to coordinate your visit. 

This event and exhibition is supported by the Nau Lab and UVA's History, French and Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages and Cultures departments.

The Nau Lab's Touchstones of Democracy series supports conversations on key events, places, texts and thinkers that help us understand the history and principles of democracy.



Samia Henni is a historian of the built, destroyed, and imagined environments; assistant professor at Cornell University; and Albert Hirschman Chair (2021/22) at the Institute for Advanced Study (IMéRA) in Marseille. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (gta Verlag, 2017, EN; Editions B42, 2019, FR), the editor of the volumes War Zones (gta Verlag, 2018) and Deserts Are Not Empty (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2022), and the maker of exhibitions, such as Archives: Secret-Défense? (ifa-Gallery/ SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, 2021), Housing Pharmacology (Manifesta 13, Marseille, 2020), and Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (2017–2019; Zurich, Rotterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg, Paris, Prague, Ithaca, Philadelphia). Currently, she is working on an exhibition and a publication on the architecture of the French nuclear weapons testing sites in the Sahara.


Sheila Crane is Associate Professor and Chair of Architectural History at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Mediterranean Crossroads: Marseille and Modern Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), which received the 2013 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. Her research examines the history and theory of modern architecture and urbanism, with a particular interest in cities in France, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region. Recent essays have appeared in Architectural Histories (“Algerian Socialism and the Architecture of Autogestion,” recipient of the 2018–19 Best Article Award), Perspective: actualité en histoire de l’art, City and Society, Space and Culture, and The Journal of Architecture, as well as in collected volumes, including Use Matters: An Alternative History of Architecture, edited by Kenny Cupers (Routledge, 2013) and Otherwise Occupied: Bashir Makhoul, Aissa Deebi, edited by Ryan Bishop and Gordon Hon (Palestinian Art Court-al Hoash, 2013).  Crane has held fellowships at the Clark Art Institute, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, the Italian Academy for Advanced Study in America at Columbia University, and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections in Washington, DC. She is currently completing a book manuscript tentatively entitled The City in the Shadow of the Shantytown: Casablanca & Algiers.