Lunchtime Talk with Huda Tayob: Black Markets: Transnational Architectures of Care.

Black Markets: Transnational Architectures of Care.

In Cape Town, South Africa the spaces of refugee inhabitation are largely in multi-storey informal arcades. Through ethnographic research and studies of oral history, it emerged that these seemingly local and informal establishments are part of wider global networks of similar markets. They are located in urban margins, yet perform the circulation of transnational spatial stories, practices, people and goods. In tracing the emergence and relationship of similar sites from Cape Town to Nairobi and Minneapolis, I argue for recognising these as ‘black markets’ drawing on AbdouMaliq Simone’s framing of black urbanism to draw out the local specificities of racialised urbanism and locate these spaces within broader landscapes of forced migration, informal global trade and transnational networks of care established and maintained by female labour. These market sites raise question of boundaries between fields and archives, along with disciplinary and geographic assumptions of the ‘global south’.

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Huda Tayob is History & Theory Programme Convener and co-leader of Unit 18 at the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg. Her doctoral research looked at the spatial practices of African migrants and refugees in Cape Town, with a particular focus on mixed-use markets established and run by these populations and their wider trans-national connections. Her general academic interests include a focus on minor and subaltern architectures, and the potential of literature to respond to archival silences in architectural research. Her recent publications include “Subaltern Architectures: Can Drawing ‘Tell’ a Different Story” (Architecture and Culture, 2018) and “Architecture-by-Migrants: The Porous Infrastructures of Bellville” (Anthropology Southern Africa, 2019). She is co-curator of the open-access curriculum project with Suzi Hall and Thandi Loewenson, and the Archive of Forgetfulness (2020 – 2021).