goto Appendx main menu Preface :
Darell W. Fields
Kevin L. Fuller
Milton S.F. Curry
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In late 1991, the three founding editors were faced, along with our colleagues at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with several troubling institutional conflicts—some unique to Harvard, others unique to elite universities, some unique to the "problem of architecture," and still others unique only to the academy. Nevertheless, we all—and we speak here of an ad hoc group of individuals—coalesced to confront  blatant and subtle acts of discrimination, exclusion, and cultural ignorance. It was within that struggle that we felt the need to expand our circle of allies beyond the confines of architecture. And it was in the course of that expansion that we realized who our friends were. We speak here of "friends" in the sense of identifying comrades who, instead of reciting the rhetoric of difference and subalterity, actually take it upon themselves to respond to calls from persons, such as us, who find themselves in need of support and are not getting it from those "sources" or "procedures" provided by prevailing conceptions of architecture. Appendx 1 page break 7 | 8 

Let us now expand on the difference between Appendx and other journals, collections of essays, etc., that attempt to address issues of ethnicity, class, sexuality, and gender (we continue to list these almost as a litany because it is important that we resist the political right's attempts to label anything that unveils and names normative problematics on a structural level as "political correctness" or the like). Appendx is intended to mark a new beginning for architectural discourse. Seeking a space for the diffusion of multiple voices and disciplines on the subject matters mentioned, the challenge was to "position" the journal relative to market forces in the publishing arena without compromising the radicality of its prospective contents. In so doing, we quickly realized that we were constantly being overdetermined and categorized by those who cared little or nothing about our most passionate intentions for the project, but were more concerned with its "packaging." 

The questioning about "what we were really trying to do with this journal?" came from all sides. From the publishing side, the question was couched in terms of marketability and economic viability. Within architecture, the questions from colleagues almost always focused on their presumption that because all three of us were black, we were attempting to establish a separate identity for the "black architect," aligning us with a separatist or strictly bourgeois project based solely on racial identity; this was absolutely not the case. We continue to face the arrogance of members of the academy who presume that we are "not of letter," as if the pursuit of this venture requires us, beforehand, to attain the proper "academic qualifications" to arrive at a "true" academic sense of our "place." 

As for questions posed by representatives of other disciplines, the most frequently asked was, "What does architecture have to do with literature?" In fact, more than once at the 1992 Modern Language Association convention, one of us was faced with that same question, which when posed by literati working in cultural theory seemed all the more  puzzling. The question we would have expected was more like, "What doesn't architecture have to do with literature or cultural theory?" We couldn't help but leave this and other conferences thinking how much work we need to do within our discipline, and how much work others need to do in their respective disciplines to increase the sites of interdisciplinary discussion and understanding. 

Within the life of the journal, we hope to present a multiplicity of views, reflections, and ideas that invigorate and initiate a rigorous approach to questions of cultural theory, difference, and so on. Far from laying claim to any single identity such as black, male, heterosexual, homosexual, female, etc., it is our hope that the journal Appendx 1 page break 8 | 9will become home for a great number of voices, articulating intersubjective positions and theoretical proposals in as free a context as we can provide. This means holding issues of "political correctness" at arm's length and suspending moral judgment of other identities that we—or potential contributors—consider to be non-negotiable. The projects that will appear in these pages appear on their own terms and are readily exposed to the consequences of their actions. Let us state very clearly in this inaugural issue that those who speak in these pages are speaking first and foremost for themselves. 

Finally, we would like to thank the editorial board for their continued support. We look forward to the growth and evolution of this group of supporters and contributors, and look to the readership to engage in dialogue with us in these pages and, most important, from your respective domains. 
 
the end  The Editors


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