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Emine Seda Kayim

Current Student—Ph.D in Architecture

Emine Seda Kayim

Specialization: History and Theory; Graduate Certificate in German Studies
Advisor: Claire Zimmerman
Dissertation Committee: Johannes von Moltke (cognate), Jana Cephas, Tyler Whitney
Dissertation Title: Stasi as Architectural Producer: Surveillance and Scientific Management in the East German Built Environment 1961-1989

Research Interests: History of Architecture from mid-19th century to the Present; Industrialization and Mass Production in Europe, the US and the Soviets; Theories of Architectural Representation and Discourse Analysis; Interwar and Postwar German Thought; Media Theory and Mass Communication Studies; Science and Technology Studies (STS). 


Seda has received her B.Arch and M.Sc. degrees in Istanbul, Turkey, where she worked as an architectural journalist, writer and media producer. Her documentaries and installations have been exhibited at events such as the Istanbul Design Biennial, DocumentarIST Festival and Prague Architecture Week, and she has been published in numerous Turkish journals, magazines, and newspapers. As an architect and multi-media designer, Seda’s academic studies are broadly motivated by her interest in mobilizing media theory to understand architectural production and use.


Seda’s dissertation research focuses on the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) Ministry of State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit – MfS)—known as the Stasi— as an architectural producer. Taking architecture and surveillance as ‘regimes of knowledge’ operating across scientific management, Seda’s project includes agents of surveillance within the constellation of architectural experts and policy-makers. This project examines how methods and conditions of surveillance have shaped the design, production and use of East German architecture and how, in turn, architectural objects and practices affected the techniques of surveillance. By understanding ‘architecture as a technology of surveillance,’ Seda is trying to develop a theoretical approach to understand the spatialization of surveillance that challenges Foucault’s panoptic model.


  • 2018 Carter Manny Award for Dissertation Research, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
  • Dr. Helen Wu Award, 2017
  • Rackham International Research Award (RIRA) and Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) (joint award) Summer Research Grant, 2017
  • Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) Center for European Studies (CES) Summer Research Grant, 2016-2018


  • "Articulating ‘What Remains’ Through Windows: Surveillance, Subject-Formation and Freedom in Christa Wolf’s 1990 Erzählung Was Bleibt," German Studies Association 42nd Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 2018.
  • "Scientifically Determined 'Bedfellows:' Co-Production of Architecture and Surveillance in the GDR 1961-1971," Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies Summer Workshop, Berlin, Germany, June 2018.
  • “Giedion / Zevi / Banham: Construction of Architectural Historiography and Cross-Mediations of Sant’Elian Legacy,” Charles F. Fraker Conference, ‘Image Reframed: Visions of Instability,’ University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, February 2017.
  • “Diagrams, the ‘Language’ of Architecture, and Delightful Mistranslations,” Critique of Architecture, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI, October 2016.
  • “Negotiating Openness: Investigating Publicity Through Patterns of Urban Resistance,” Cities That Talk, AESOP Young Academics Network Conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, February 2014
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