Ralph Ghoche

Assistant Professor, Architecture, Barnard College


Ralph Ghoche is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Barnard College, specializing in nineteenth-century architectural, urban, and environmental history. 

His research and teaching are dedicated to clarifying two major subject areas: colonialism and environmentalism. His work on the interventions of the Catholic Church in Algiers during the French colonial period examines how the Church reshaped urban space through the construction, conversion, and erasure of buildings to advance its aim of resurrecting Augustinian Christendom in North Africa. Simultaneously, Ghoche is involved in a research project examining stone quarries and mineral extraction across Algeria. The broader objective of this project is to clarify how Western architecture's material reality is inscribed within global networks of extraction and exchange. 

For the last decade, Ghoche has taught a lecture class in environmental history titled “City, Landscape & Ecology.” The course looks at changing attitudes to the natural world from the eighteenth century to the present, tracing significant historical shifts in considering nature across multiple fields and disciplines. His recent publications on environmentalism include “A Commons for Whom? Racism and the Environmental Movement,” co-authored with Udoh Unyimeabasi and published in Transforming Education for Sustainability (Springer, 2023) and a co-edited special issue (v. 17) of the French peer-reviewed journal, Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale urbaine et paysagère, titled “How Environmentalist Mobilizations Shape Buildings, Cities and Landscapes.” 

Ghoche holds a professional degree in architecture from McGill University and a Ph.D. in architectural history and theory from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia. He is co-chair of the Columbia University Seminar, Beyond France, and is a member of the editorial board of Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère