Dr Irit Katz

Associate Researcher

About Irit

Irit joined the Sheffield School of Architecture as a Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design in 2019. Prior to this appointment she held academic positions at the LSE Cities Programme, at Cambridge’s Girton College, and at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, where she also undertook her PhD (completed in 2016). Dr Katz has an interdisciplinary academic background with a BArch degree in Architecture (Cum Laude), an MA in Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies (Magna Cum Laude), and experience in researching Global Policy on urbanisation and migration as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House. Her career as a practicing architect in Tel Aviv and in London includes work on urban design projects and large scale housing schemes. As a former practitioner and an academic who studies built environments facing extreme situations, Irit regularly contributes as an advisor to international organisations and academic projects.

Research interests

Irit’s work focuses on the social, political and cultural aspects of architecture and urbanism shaped by radical powers and realities such as forced migration, conflict and extreme inequalities. She is particularly interested in the role of spaces of everyday life in articulating the changing human condition and in mediating social, ethnic and cultural diversity and socio-political fragility. Her research examines these environments as dynamic constellations through which social negotiations and cultural transformations are staged and reworked. Her work incorporates spatial ethnography, visual and participatory methods, urban and global policy analysis, and a strong engagement with cultural and political theories, while covering a range of historical and contemporary areas and geographical contexts. 

Currently Irit studies urban spaces of migration and refuge in different cities across the globe. Her recent work includes a research project on the central role of camps in shaping populations, territories, and urban areas in Israel-Palestine and beyond over the last century. The project offers a spatial genealogy and analysis of the camp, whether it is created as a biopolitical instrument of control or formed ad hoc as a makeshift space of resistance and refuge, from the early years of settler colonialism to national and state building projects and the current global human mobility. 

Irit’s wider research interests include spaces of displacement, conflict, migration and refuge; urban spaces of ethnic and cultural diversity, marginality, and fragility; transnational and urban borderscapes; housing, including rights and evictions, emergency shelters and diaspora homes; the relations between politics and poetics; critical spatial practice; and critical theories, including urban critical theories, feminist and post/decolonial theories, and political philosophy.


Rethinking the Camp: On Spatial Technologies of Power and Resistance. Co-author with C. Minca & D. Martin, Progress in Human Geography (2019), https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0309132519856702 

Between bare life and everyday life: spatialising the new migrant camps in Europe. Amps: Architecture_Media_Politics_Society, vol. 12.2 (2017), 1-21.  

The Common Camp: Temporary Settlements as a Spatio-Political Instrument in Israel-Palestine. The Journal of Architecture, vol. 22.1 (2017), 54-103.

Camp evolution and Israel’s creation: between ‘state of emergency’ and ‘emergence of state’. Political Geography, vol. 55 (2016), 144-155.

Spreading and Concentrating: the Camp as the Space of the Frontier. City, ‘Durable Camps’ Special Issue, vol. 19.5 (2015), 722-735.

The Common Camp: Architecture of Power in Israel-Palestine. Under contract with the University of Minnesota Press (forthcoming).

Camps Revisited: Multifaceted Spatialities of a Modern Political Technology. Co-edited with C. Minca & D. Martin for the series ‘Geopolitical Bodies, Material Worlds’, London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018).

‘Use, Adhocism and Emergency Shelter: On Architectural Nuclei of Life in Displacement’. In: Scott-Smith T. & M. E. Breeze (eds), Structures of Protection. Berghahn Books (forthcoming).

‘En Route: The Mobile Border Migrant Camps of Northern France’. In Pieris, A. (ed.), Architecture on the Borderline: Boundary Politics and Built Space. In ‘Architext’ of Routledge (2019), pp. 119-138. 

‘The Camp Reconsidered’. First co-author with C. Minca & D. Martin. In I. Katz, C. Minca & D. Martin (eds.), Camps Revisited. London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018), pp. 1-14.

The Bubble, the Airport, the Jungle: Europe’s Urban Migrant Camps’. First co-author with T. Parsloe, Z. Poll & A. Scafe-Smith. In I. Katz, C. Minca & D. Martin (eds.), Camps Revisited. London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018), pp. 61-82.

‘On the Meaning of Shelter: Living in Calais’ Camps de la Lande’. Second co-author with C. Gueguen-Teil. In I. Katz, C. Minca & D. Martin (eds.), Camps Revisited. London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018), pp. 83-98.

Tents’. In A. Handel (Ed.), The Political Lexicon of the Social Protest, Israel (Summer 2011- ), Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2012, pp. 17-18 (in Hebrew).

Fleeing Home at Home: Internal Displacement in Homs, Syria. With A. Azzouz. The LSE Middle East Centre Blog (2018); http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2018/02/21/fleeing-home-at-home-internal-displacement-in-homs-syria/ 

Architecture of Control and Struggle: Camps and the Reordering of Populations and Territories in Israel-Palestine. Architecture Beyond Europe (ABE), vol. 12 (2017). Journal of Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS); https://journals.openedition.org/abe/3966.

Pre-fabricated or Freely fabricated? Forced Migration Review, ‘Shelter in Displacement’ issue, vol. 55 (2017), pp. 17-19. Journal of University of Oxford.

Urban Spaces of Internal Displacement in Mexico: Reproducing Inequalities. Second co-author with F. Hernández. ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, ‘Displacements’, vol. XVI.2 (2017), pp. 58-60.  

A Global Infrastructure of Camps. An essay for the exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter (2017), of the Museum of Modern Art New York (MoMA);


The Common Camp. The RIBA Journal, December 2016, p.38.

A network of camps on the way to Europe. Forced Migration Review, ‘Destination: Europe’ issue, vol. 51 (2016), pp. 17-19. Journal of University of Oxford.

From Spaces of Thanatopolitics to Spaces of Natality. Political Geography, vol. 49 (2015), pp. 84-86 (commentary for Claudio Minca’s paper ‘Geographies of the Camp’ published in the same volume).

No Way Out or What is Minor Architecture? Protocols – History & Theory, vol. 26 (2012), Bezalel Academy for Art and Design (in Hebrew).

Spaces Stretch Inward: Interactions between Architecture and Minor Literature. Public Culture, vol. 22.3 (2010), 425-432.

Urban Recalibrations and Radical Potentials. A book review for Rethinking Life at the Margins: The Assemblage of Contexts, Subjects and Politics ed. by Michele Lancione, City vol. 23.1 (2019), 128-132. 

Homeland: Zionism as Housing Regime 1860-2011 by Yael Allweil. A book review, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (TDSR), vol. XXIX (2017), pp. 88-89. Journal of the Center for Environmental Design Research, University of California at Berkeley.