Counter-Forensic Investigations in Human Rights Research

Friday, April 5, 2024 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Summary and scope:      

This intensive workshop taught by Forensic Architecture's (FA) dedicated Israel-Palestine Researcher and ISHR Senior Lecturer Dr. Shourideh C. Molavi introduces students to visual and spatial open-source methods and investigations in the Middle East and around the world and their intersection with the study and discipline of human rights. Designed as an interdisciplinary workshop that borrows from the fields of architecture, design, film, photography, political science, art, history and computer science, among others, the themes of our discussions include investigative case studies on state, corporate and environmental violence. As a methodology-focused masterclass, we walk students through the process of how to build a visual research study as an investigation, looking at techniques of political mapping, photography/video production, 3D modeling, satellite analysis and historical research that have elsewhere been used by FA.      
Learning objectives:
  • Introduction to the techniques, methods and investigations of Forensic Architecture     
  • Thinking through human rights and its application using visual and spatial techniques     
  • Learning how to build an investigation that intersects theory and practice and mobilizes various fora for its activation      
Student skill sets:     
  • Ability to work within a group or individually     
  • Critical thinking and interest in working on grounded case studies
  • Visual and spatial skill-sets are welcomed but not required, including: open-source, 3D modeling and satellite analysis research experience


Shourideh C. Molavi is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Human Rights at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Shourideh is a writer and scholar specializing in critical state theory, decolonization, migration and border studies, decolonial ecologies, and trained with a background in International Humanitarian Law. She has over 15 years of academic and fieldwork experience in the Middle East—focusing on Israel/Palestine—on the topics of border practices, citizenship and statelessness, militarized landscapes, and human and minority rights, with an emphasis on the relationship between the law, violence, and power.