Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering

Anwar JaberBorn in Jerusalem and raised Palestinian, Anwar brings an international academic and professional experience from the Middle East, Europe and Canada. She has practiced as a licensed architect and urban planner in Jerusalem and served as a professor at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto in Canada. She has also supervised architectural courses at the University of Cambridge in England. On a personal level, she is interested in history, culture, religion, politics, languages and music. Her favourite is the traditional Palestinian folkloric dance - Dabkeh. She loves meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, and believes that getting people together to work and talk breaks barriers and builds a community based on common human experience.

Anwar completed her bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Birzeit University in Palestine. She holds an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies and a PhD in Architecture from the University of Cambridge in England. Her research interests include: the interplay between politics and architecture, cities and conflicts, urban memory and war, Islamic architecture and urbanism in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Palestine/Israel. In addition, she has co-edited Scroope 25 (the Cambridge Architecture Journal) and served as an editor for the Arab Urbanism Magazine in both Arabic and English.

In September 2021, Anwar joined the School of Architecture as a postdoctoral fellow, and has been excited to be joining the postdoc community here. She chose the University of Waterloo because we have one of the top engineering faculties in Canada. The School of Architecture is known for the high calibre of its students, and under the leadership of Professor Anne Bordeleau, it is interested in breaking the boundaries of traditional architectural teaching (which has historically mostly centred on Western theories) by looking to address other contexts from around the globe to bring in more
diverse voices. Anwar’s research on architecture and urbanism in the global south, particularly the socio-politics of architecture in the Middle East, contributes to the school's efforts and brings in a new research area to the school.

Anwar describes herself as an architect and urban scholar. Her research interests lie in exploring the cultural and socio-political aspects of architecture and urbanism. In particular, she focuses on researching cities facing political transitions and extreme conditions, such as violent political and ethno-national conflicts. She investigates the role of architecture in these cities, their urban forms, the conditions of their creation, and how the built environment becomes an active contributor in shaping and absorbing urban conflicts instead of merely reflecting them. One of the core themes of this work is how architecture and the built environment are used in conflicts to lay territorial claim and manifest power structures. She looks at themes of destruction, violence, and conflict, particularly in relation to divided and contested cities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa that have faced extreme levels of conflict and division, such as Berlin, Beirut, Cape Town, Belfast and others. She believes that understanding the interplay of politics, power and the built environment is essential to learning how people live during and after conflicts, and how numerous socio-political, cultural and other tensions figure in our cities. A nuanced understanding of these topics is crucial if architects and planners are to design better and more inclusive cities, and spatial experts are to contribute to decision-making in planning and broader public policy.

University of Waterloo

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