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Shawhin Roudbari, co-guest editor of Vigilantism, interviewed by the University of Colorado Boulder ENVD

September 27, 2020

The Environmental Design Department at the University of Colorado Boulder has interviewed Shawhin Roudbari, who is co-guest editing our upcoming issue on Vigilantism with Germane Barnes. Shawhin Roudbari began teaching at CU Boulder in 2014 and, in 2016, he became an assistant professor in ENVD.

Mas event 2021 vigilantism issue launch 10

From left to right: Erik Herrmann, Shawhin Roudbari, Vigilantism issue launch at Principle Barbers, Chicago. © Mark Waite.

“Since the beginning, I’ve always taught a range of studios, mostly lower division, but the classes that have sort of been near and dear to my heart are the ones on ethics and activism, social change and then recently this class on dissent by design, which has been so great,” Roudbari said.

In your research, you study how designers organize to address social problems. Can you share how you came into this research and what it means to you?

I used to be very apolitical, like, I had a point about not being engaged in politics for the longest time. Around 2008, when I went back to grad school in architecture, there was a lot happening politically on campus. There was a lot of activism, a lot of protests, and teachings where faculty came and spoke, and this was at Berkeley, which has a big tradition of activism. There was this one guy who I thought was really cool at the time who was talking about apathy, cynicism and these different topics as problematic and instrumental, and I thought ‘wow, those are exactly my reasons for not being politically engaged.’

So, I made almost a 180-degree shift and realized that there are a lot of issues I care about. I have a lot of privileges that I need to capitalize on when working on those kinds of problems. So, in general, my research has been about how can people like me, who are design professionals not interested in politics, engage in politics?”

You can read the complete interview on the Environmental Design Department’s website.

You can learn more about the issue here.

Shawhin Roudbari and Germane Barnes will lecture on November 12 about “Architectures of Vigilantism.” More information on the talk here.