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April 14, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - April 15, 2017 @ 6:30 pm


Architecture & Urban Design, University of California, Los Angeles, Perloff Hall (DeCafe)
April 14-15, 2017

“The Body’s Politic: Architecture and the Modern Subject”

Architecture has long been viewed as a civilizing mechanism: museums make publics, boulevards make populations, housing makes citizens. Under modernity, architecture enrolled itself in the pantheon of power’s tools, explicitly deployed to create subjects. But this historical perspective quarantines political readings of architecture to the conservative, stationary, or merely incidental. How has the apparatus of architectural form, space, and representation worked in ways unseen by its contingent actors, and how has this apparatus biased contemporary scholarship? Imagining architecture as a Foucauldian dispositif, inscribing itself upon bodies and peripheral to larger spheres of social and political practice, how might focused studies of architecture’s professional, cultural and tectonic configurations provide new ways of considering the modern subject today? Looking through identity formation to the effects of political, legal, and techno-scientific systems, how have architectural objects not only constructed singular subjects but proven intrinsic to variegated subjectivities and contemporary politics of the body? How have the kinds and natures of these subjects varied through time, from the individual to the collective, the human to the nonhuman, the embodied to the metaphysical? And, unlike the reformers and statists of past historical tellings, how could architecture itself be considered a primary historical agent in these machinations?


Friday, 4/14

Welcome & Opening Remarks – 6:00 pm

Keynote Address – 6:15 pm

“Entanglements of Black Panther Oakland”
Lisa Uddin, Associate Professor, Art History and Visual Culture Studies, Whitman College

How has black life intersected with the modernist discourses of Californian cities? What kind of urbanism emerged from white supremacy circa 1966 and the struggle to stay alive? What did the Panther say to the Pig? This talk considers the sense of urban place that follows from the art and activism of the Black Panther Party in Northern California’s East Bay. Reading some key texts from the archives of Black Power, I explore how Black Panther Oakland was a material and figurative location of entangled relations between the human and nonhuman. These entanglements radically de-territorialized the city and its subjects, and offer alternate frames for the story of California modernism.

Saturday, 4/15
Keynote Address – 12:30 PM

“Architectures of Homogeneous Empiricism”
Zeynep Çelik Alexander, Associate Professor, Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto

In Philosophia Botanica, published in 1751, the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus provided instructions for the construction of a cabinet to accommodate his botanical specimens. Modest as the architecture of the cabinet was, it made a new kind of empiricism possible: the specimens, which were standardized by being pressed between unattached sheets of paper, could now be arranged and rearranged as the collection grew, as species, genera, or families were added or removed, and even if the theory organizing the overall system became defunct. In the century that followed, Linnaeus’s cabinet informed the architecture of numerous herbaria, whose functioning depended on this homogeneous empiricism of elementary, discrete, and, portable particulars. This paper examines the architecture of the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew in an attempt to understand how it organized not only knowledge but also as labor and capital across the globe. This, after all, was the ingenuity of herbarium architecture: its homogeneous empiricism shaped as much the gardeners who collected specimens in the colonies as the botanists who observed, classified, and named those specimens in the metropole and publics who were educated through displays of “economic botany.”

Panel 1: Epistemologies – 1:30-3:00 PM

“Building Orientalism, Forming Modern Subjects: Philip Johnson’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies”
Eva Schreiner, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University

“Studies from the Bottom Up: Tolstoy College at University at Buffalo, 1969–85”
Julie Niemi, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College

“Iatrogenic Bodies in Modern Architectural Treatises: Orthopaedic Objects and Ideal Structures”
Ezgi Isbilen, Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

Panel 2: Economies – 3:30-5:00 PM
“The Home and the House: The Better Homes in America Campaign and the Gendered Subjectivities of Familial Dwelling”
Eric Rogers, Independent scholar

“Rights and Rites of Passage: Domestic Tourism and Leisure Architecture in France, c.1945-75”
Johanna Elizabeth Sluiter, The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

“Black Power and White Houses: Mortgage Capital and the New Black Homeowner in the Post-Civil Rights Era U.S.”
Eric Peterson, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley

Panel 3: Polities  – 5:00-6:30 PM

“From Hygienic Bodies to Destructive Bodies: A Study on the Performative Assemblies at The Station Square in Ankara”
Aslihan Gunhan, Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University

“The Comforting Brick: Hassan Fathy and the problem of Contemporaneity”
Mohamed Shaker, Architecture & Urban Design, University of California, Los Angeles

“‘By This Sign, Conquer’: Religious Technologies and Military Rule in the 20th Century”
Megan Eardley, School of Architecture, Princeton University


April 14, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
April 15, 2017 @ 6:30 pm