Ginger Nolan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


BA in Comparative Literature, Brandeis University; M.Arch, MIT; PhD, Architectural History & Theory, Columbia University

Ginger Nolan is a historian and theorist of architecture and urbanism. Her scholarship examines intersections between nootechnologies, design aesthetics, and constructions of race. Before joining the University of Southern California, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at Basel University’s department of Urban Studies. She has also taught at Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts, and she was a teaching fellow at Columbia University’s Institute of Comparative Literature and Society. Her research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, the Terra Foundation of American Art, and the Graham Foundation of Art and Architecture. She pursues collective forms of scholarship through her involvement with the Global Architecture History Theory Collaborative and with Aggregate’s Systems and the South group. Nolan is the author of The Neo-colonialism of the Global Village (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), which examines the influence of colonial technopolitics on Marshall McLuhan’s conception of “the global village”. She has a second book forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press provisionally titled “Savage Mind / Savage Machine: Design, Technology and the Making of Magical Thought”. Her articles and essays have appeared in Grey Room, Architectural Theory Review, The Journal of Architecture, Perspecta, Log, Volume, Thresholds, Avery Review, and e-flux.

Currently Teaching
  • 314
    History of Architecture Contemporary Issues
    History of Architecture Contemporary Issues
    Prerequisite(s): ARCH 214b The readings and assignments are designed to encourage critical thinking and analytical skills, in addition to an understanding of the criticisms leveled against the modern movement during the 1960s.
  • 414
    Perspectives in History and Theory In Architecture - Architectures of Basic Universal Income: Urban Life in the Age of Automation
    Perspectives in History and Theory In Architecture - Architectures of Basic Universal Income: Urban Life in the Age of Automation

    It is forecast that within a few decades the automation of jobs will result in unprecedented rates of unemployment in the United States. Accordingly, Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been proposed as a way to maintain social order. Noting both the utopian and dystopian aspects of UBI, we’ll investigate how conditions of unemployment and automation might affect cities and their architectures, drawing from readings on post-Fordism, biopolitics, informality, immigration, humanitarianism, welfare, and urban politics.

    Students will undertake a series of short research and/or design projects (working alone or in pairs) to investigate architectural-urban forms likely to be affected by unemployment, including housing, transportation, recreation, use of digital media, education, the informal economic sector, and habits of consumption (including addiction). Students will research and advocate for a particular position regarding UBI, along with a related architectural or urban proposal. There will be a final exhibition of student work.

  • 563
    Contemporary Architectural Theory
    Contemporary Architectural Theory
    Theory can be used as justification, as propaganda, as a guide for practice, as a set of principles, as a vehicle of thought, as a platform for debate, and as an architectural project in itself. This course considers the changing role of theory with respect to architectural, urban, and landscape practice over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and aims to furnish students with a set of questions, techniques, and tools for criticism and self-critique. Focusing on key figures, movements, and texts, this course provides an overview of the principal theories that have informed, animated, or destabilized recent architectural, urban, and landscape discourse.
Related News
USC Architecture is proud to announce the recipients of its 2020 Research in Architecture, Faculty Research Grant and Student Research Grant programs. A total of nearly $155,000 ...
The Graham Foundation has announced its grantee projects for 2019, in which it awarded $462,800 to 64 projects by individuals. Two USC School of Architecture faculty received ...
Professors Alison Hirsch and Ginger Nolan were awarded grants by the Graham Foundation for 2019. The foundation, which aims to “foster the development and exchange of diverse and ...
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