New School Grads Rock • Fadi Shayya
Fadi Shayya graduated from Parsons in 2016, earning an MA with honors in Theories of Urban Practice. Before that, he completed a Master of Urban Design at the American University of Beirut, and a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering at Beirut Arab University. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Architecture at University of Manchester.
"A PhD is quite a big project that requires quite a lot of time," Fadi reports. But it is providing him with the opportunity to study matters of critical importance. "I am investigating the different understandings of militarization, engineering, and architecture in order to shine a light on the workings of power in contemporary societies."
Fadi's research focuses on the militarization of urban police forces. "My study traces the social life of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known as MRAPs, as they circulate back to U.S. territory and into the hands of law enforcement agencies after their military service in the war on Iraq and Afghanistan." For Fadi, the MRAPs emerge as a locus of changing socio-technical relations, and a material instantiation of state logics that bridge the global and the local.
Of course, Fadi's interest in the militarization of built environments is not new, but it has taken new directions in the past few years. "Growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, I became an architect out of a strong desire for shaping the built environment. But my engagement with the humanities and social sciences has shifted my focus to sociotechnical relations and urban assemblages."
Fadi credits his time in the Theories of Urban Practice program, with its transdisciplinary platform, for encouraging him to cross intellectual boundaries. From a foundation of urban theory and history, he engaged literature and methods in political ecological design, welfare state systems, actor-networks, technopolitics, feminist technoscience, and critical security studies. "Two amazing years added to my praxis and engagement with others on critical urban and design issues, leading me to continue my research through postgraduate study."