Delia Wendel

MIT | Spaulding Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development

"Trauma Heritage and Repair: Learning from Rwanda"

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
6 pm - 7:30 pm
Hayes Hall 403

After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, killing sites were preserved as memorials to maintain evidence of crimes for public viewing. Rather than be seen as exceptional, those engagements in memory justice activism comprise part of a larger “era of trauma heritage” emerging largely from the Global South in the late 20th century and continuing today. Trauma heritage refers to spatialized memories of violence that have been systematically marginalized or hidden. These are sites of truth-telling that aim to enact change in the contexts of impunity and gross negligence that they resist. But they are inordinately difficult to see, both for those who are close and at a distance. Reflecting from Rwanda, this talk will engage the tensions inherent to trauma heritage and their potential as sites of repair. 

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The School of Architecture and Planning is an AIA CES Approved Provider. This course is AIA CES Registered and approved for 1 Learning Unit (LU).


Delia Wendel.

Delia Wendel, Spaulding Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development at MIT

Delia Duong Ba Wendel (she/ her) is the Spaulding Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development at MIT. Her interdisciplinary work explores peacebuilding after protracted violence. She holds a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning (Harvard), Master’s degrees in Cultural Geography (University College London) and Architectural History and Theory (Harvard GSD), and a professional degree in Architecture (Rice University). Previously, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Center, taught in the Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning departments at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and was an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. Current research builds from ten years of work in Rwanda and informs two book manuscripts in progress. Rwanda’s Genocide Heritage (forthcoming, Duke University Press) explores memory justice initiatives in Rwanda in the context of state control and human rights practices in the Global South. The Ethics of Stability analyzes post-genocide peacebuilding as a socio-spatial endeavor; one that is defined and challenged in the design of homes, settlements, and civic space. At MIT, Wendel directs the Planning for Peace collective and the CAST and Mellon Foundation funded “Memory Atlas for Repair” project.