Monday, July 4, 2022


Dr. Jochen Kibel (TU Berlin) & Dr. Makau Kitata (University of Nairobi) As a cooperation between the Collaborative Research Centre, “Re-Figuration of Spaces” at the Technical University Berlin, and the Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi we are inviting experts from different academic disciplines to our digital Colloquium on September 14th, 2022

Selected papers will be also published as book chapters in an edited volume.

  Key Concepts and questions 

Home-making processes are undergoing tremendous changes globally. Migration, urbanization, the scarcity of land as well as its rising prices are important driving forces that put pressure on homeowners and dwellers around the globe. To make a home is not only an architectural and economic endeavour but also crucial for social interactions, subjective self-perception, and often an expression of personal hopes and aspirations of those who try to make a home. Framed by structural aspects (real estate markets, legal conditions, planning, and infrastructure) a closer look at home-making processes may reveal how these macro-level aspects play out on the micro-level of everyday life, how they structure social interaction, and how different subjectivities are constituted. In Nairobi, cultural lifestyle patterns in the context of home-making also undergo intergenerational changes. Nevertheless, urban-rural relations remain of great importance whereas the urban-rural link may be extended by a spatial network of urban-rural-global relations due to remittances and retirement plans of the Kenyan diaspora. In this colloquium we aim to look at home-making practices (especially in Nairobi and Berlin) through a spatial lens, discussing spatial and social relations that are established (e.g. between countryside, city, diaspora) and try to understand distinctive types of spatial home-making practices as well as the potential conflicts that are associated with ongoing societal changes in the realm of home-making. By bringing together scholars from Nairobi and Berlin we want to reflect on the above-mentioned subjects from a relational perspective that also includes different academic disciplines. 


In order to do so we will raise the following general questions:

 ➢ How is history mapped in housing and homemaking practices in Kenya? 

➢ How can social change be described spatially in the context of home-making practices? 

➢ Which subjectivities can be reconstructed in the context of home-making? 

➢ Which dreams and aspirations may be produced in popular discourses of home (e.g. literature, social media, but also advertisements, etc.)? 

➢ How are housing and homemaking viewed in Kenyan society and how does it influence self-perceptions?

 ➢ Which conflicts may exist (between different communities, generations, classes, gender, ecology, etc.) in relation to different housing and home-making practices? 

➢ How do politics and economics of housing impact housing and homemaking? Paper contributions could for example address the following perspectives: 

➢ Historical perspectives on home: Traditions and intergenerational change 

➢ Geographical perspectives on home: Spatial urban-rural(-diaspora) networks ➢ Architectural perspectives on home: Aesthetics and materiality of the home 

➢ Legal perspectives on home: Legal changes and restrictions in housing 

➢ Real Estate perspectives on home: Economy and housing as an investment ➢ City planning perspectives on home: Infrastructure and colonial legacy 

➢ Sociological perspectives on home: Home or house? Different rationalities of home-making

 ➢ Literature perspectives on home: Discourses and popular culture on housing and home-making, in Kenyan written, visual and oral art forms 

➢ Gender studies perspectives on home: The home as a gendered space 

➢ Political imperatives of housing and homemaking 

➢ Economic policies on housing and homemaking  


Click here for more details.