Call for Papers: Port Architecture

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 2, 2011

The Social Life of Port Architecture: History, Politics, Commerce, and Culture (1700-present)
Centre for Port and Maritime History, University of Liverpool, 23-25 June 2011

Proposals due by 29 April 2011

The architecture of port cities is entangled in the social, political, economic and cultural histories of these places. Historically, major architectural projects afforded the commissioning merchant class the capacity to materialize their status in prominent urban spaces in a way which embedded trade and commerce in a set of broader civilizational values. Architecture was one of the key sites for referencing the cultures of other places with historicist styles, civilizational discourses, ‘exotic’ motifs and — crucially — representations of the local. Architecture also housed the social interactions crucial for knitting together trading networks within and beyond the city, while the configuration of internal building spaces revealed assumptions about the ordering of wider social relationships and hierarchies.

Architecture provides a lens through which to study the economic, political and cultural practices of port-cities. How did the social practices and values (whether religious or secular) crucial for assembling trading networks shape the architecture of port-cities? Which achievements were represented and celebrated in urban space and why? How did rapidly professionalizing architects draw on and particularize repertoires of historicist and international symbols in order to create distinctive local images? What were some of the controversies centring on major architectural projects and what do they tell us about wider social issues? How were new technologies incorporated into the urban landscape? (more…)