Call for Papers | SAH in Chicago, 2015

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 11, 2014


From the SAH 2015 Call for Papers:

2015 Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference
Chicago, 15–19 April 2015

Proposals due by 6 June 2014

The Society of Architectural Historians is now accepting abstracts for its 68th Annual Conference in Chicago, April 15–19, 2015. Please submit abstracts no later than June 6, 2014, for one of the 32 thematic sessions or for an open session. Sessions have been selected to cover topics across all time periods and architectural styles. SAH encourages submissions from architectural, landscape, and urban historians; museum curators; preservationists; independent scholars; architects; and members of partner organizations.

Thematic sessions are listed below. Open sessions are available for those whose research does not match any of the themed sessions. Instructions and deadlines for submitting to themed sessions and open sessions are the same. Only one abstract per author or co-author may be submitted.

SAH is using an online abstract submission process—please do not send your abstract to the session chair’s email address as this will delay the review of your abstract or possibly void your submission.

Submit Your Abstract Online

View Submission Instructions

Abstract submissions must follow these guidelines:
• Abstracts must be under 300 words
• The title cannot exceed 65 characters, including spaces and punctuation
• Abstracts must follow the Chicago Manual of Style

If submitting to a thematic session, send your CV to the appropriate session chair and the SAH office
at info@sah.org. If submitting to the open session, send your CV to the SAH office only, at info@sah.org. 
Abstracts should define the subject and summarize the argument to be presented in the proposed paper. The content of that paper should be the product of well-documented original research that is primarily analytical and interpretative rather than descriptive in nature. Papers cannot have been previously published or presented in public except to a small, local audience. All abstracts will be held in confidence during the review and selection process, and only the session chair and General Chair will have access to them. 
All session chairs have the prerogative to recommend changes to the abstract in order to ensure it addresses the session theme, and to suggest editorial revisions to a paper in order to make it satisfy session guidelines. It is the responsibility of the session chairs to inform speakers of those guidelines, as well as of the general expectations for participation in the session and the Annual Conference. Session chairs reserve the right to withhold a paper from the program if the author has not complied with those guidelines.

Please note: each speaker is expected to fund his or her own travel and expenses to Chicago. SAH has a limited number of partialfellowships for which Annual Conference speakers may apply. However, SAH’s funding is not sufficient to support the expenses of all speakers. Each speaker and session chair must register and establish membership in SAH for 2015 by August 30, 2014, to show their commitment for the 2015 conference and are required to pay a non-refundable fee equal to that of the conference registration fee.

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A selection of panels that might be relevant for eighteenth-century scholars:


The Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns erupted in late seventeenth-century France. Although ostensibly concerned with the relative merits of the literary and cultural achievements of modernity and antiquity, the quarrel was predicated upon more ideologically charged issues, and as such what initially began as a literary quarrel quickly developed into a broader debate that impinged upon an array of subjects including architecture. Indeed, the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns unleashed a discourse pitting the sanctity of antiquity against the exigencies of modernity that would shape views of the architecture of both the past and present throughout the long eighteenth century.

As they grappled with questions of imitation and invention, authority and novelty, progress and perfection, and rules and genius, architects turned to the ruins of antiquity to redefine the architecture of the present. The interpretive space that existed between the ruin and its reconstruction, the fragment and the whole, gave rise to differing and vigorously contested visions of antiquity and its relevance for the modern world. The resulting expansion of knowledge led architects to question the prevailing holistic view of antiquity and the assumptions upon which it was based.

This session seeks to explore how the quarrel’s unraveling of the past influenced architectural theory and practice in the present and to understand it as a pan-European phenomenon. We invite papers that reconsider the quarrel and its architectural legacy over the course of the long eighteenth century (1670–1815) throughout Europe. Papers may address architecture as it relates to a range of issues, including the nature of authority, the possibility of progress, the status of the architect, the role of genius, and the relationship between socio-cultural change and the built environment.

Session chairs: John Pinto, Princeton University pinto@princeton.edu; Daniel McReynolds, Princeton University, dmcreyno@princeton.edu

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In the so-called digital age, ‘data’ is repeatedly presented as the primary unit of knowledge. Yet we know almost nothing of this epistemic unit’s history. How did we come to imagine data as untethered, immaterial bits of information? Historians of the early modern period have written compelling histories of the modern ‘fact’ by exposing its unexpected ties to preternatural monsters and double-entry bookkeeping. What would equivalent histories of data look like? Architectural historians may be particularly well positioned to excavate histories of data since space is a central paradox in our understanding of this unit: while data needs to be infinitely addressable, we assume that it does not occupy an address in space. The sixteenth- century scholar who decided to record his bibliographies not in bound volumes but on slips of paper so as to be able to rearrange them understood this as well as the contemporary data analyst. Over against the assumption that data is dematerialized information flowing in an imaginary frictionless space, then, this session proposes that data has always had architecture. We invite papers that explore the material infrastructures that gather, store, index, aggregate, and dissimulate data: from cabinets that file paperwork to buildings that house bureaucracies and from graphs and tables that make data visible to data centers and satellites in orbit that push it out of sight. How can these spatial and material histories start sketching an historical ontology of data? What concepts, artifacts, techniques, and institutions have been playing roles in these histories? And, finally, how might historical accounts of data challenge the technological master- narratives on which histories of architectural modernity have been based?

Session chairs: Zeynep Çelik Alexander, University of Toronto, zeynep.celik@utoronto.ca and Lucia Allais, Princeton University, allais@princeton.edu

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Louis Sullivan defied his profession’s orthodoxies in a 1894 AIA convention address titled “Emotional Architecture as Compared with Classical.” Deploring the state of contemporary design pedagogy, he argued “how deeply necessary it is that a technical or intellectual training be supplemented by a full, a rich, a chaste development of the emotions.” Sullivan’s unfamiliar antinomies of “emotional” versus “classical” architecture confound us, indeed instructively. An architectural historiography grounded solely in formal, technical and intellectual constructs is poorly equipped to evaluate emotions as evidence. Our discipline’s limitations render Sullivan’s discourse odd and inscrutable.

That situation is changing, thanks to methodological innovations in the burgeoning field of the history of emotions. Reassessing interior states conventionally assumed to be “hardwired” and universal, the field’s pioneers insist upon the historical specificity, contingency, and transience of emotional expressions. Analyzing emotive terms embedded in primary documents, they produce nuanced readings of affect as a social and cultural construct. Concepts including “emotional navigation,” “emotional regimes,” “emotional communities” (characterized by particular “systems of feeling” and “emotional styles”) and “emotional labor” bear close scrutiny by architectural historians. Familiar buildings, newly contextualized by emotive evidence discovered in their corresponding texts, bear unforeseen witness to architectural enterprises and the societies that initiate them.

This session invites papers that serve as case studies in how research methods developed in the field of the history of emotions can inform and broaden architectural history, and which suggest, conversely, how architectural history might offer unique contributions to the history of emotions. Abandoning impressionistic readings of architectural affect, papers in this session will explicitly evaluate methodologies that embed built objects within their emotional context(s). Proposals from scholars of all periods and geographies are welcome.

Session chair: Greg Castillo, University of California, Berkeley; gregcastillo@berkeley.edu

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It is understood that drawing leads to building. However, the movement from one to the other is neither direct nor determined in advance. It is the presence of this ‘indeterminacy’ that creates a specific locus of research. There is, as Robin Evans (1997) has argued, a constitutive ‘gap’ between drawing and building that demands a revision of architectural history. This ‘gap’ constitutes a site in which the project of the history of architecture can be rethought and the appropriate theoretical dimensions to that rethinking incorporated. For Evans the gap is the general condition of architectural drawing. In sum this session—From Drawing to Building: Reworking Architectural Drawing—will allow for a productive rethinking of the relationship between drawing and building; a relationship that has implications as much in history and theory as it does to architectural pedagogy and contemporary practices of design.

This session will concentrate on those architectural drawings that occur apart from the ones created for what can be described as the legal documentation of the construction processes. In other words, emphasis will be given to those drawings that are used to communicate concepts and meanings central to the discipline of architecture. Furthermore, the session will emphasize interest in the specific techniques and conventions of the perspective and the axonometric as techniques used to convey spatial strategies. Even though tied to specific periods and individual practices, drawings using these techniques represent distinctive disciplinary propositions.

Through these conventions and techniques, image-based representations provide transactional visual environments that are instrumental in the development of architectural knowledge. Such provocations for the discipline are beyond any authorial desire for architecture’s substantiation in building. This session will invite papers from a range of historical periods to open discussion on the functionality of the ‘gap’ between drawings and buildings.

Session chairs: Desley Luscombe, University of Technology Sydney, Desley.luscombe@uts.edu.au and Andrew Benjamin, Monash University Melbourne, andrew.benjamin@monash.edu

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‘Replica’ architectures employ selective ideas of the past to construct the self-image of states, cultures, organizations or powerful individuals in the present, often operating in service of radically conservative ideologies. Frequently promoted through the rhetoric of ‘reconstruction’, these projects are seldom ‘literal’ reconstructions. Rather, they involve the tendentious reclamation of historic architectural or urban forms to reinforce identity narratives, however tenuous or counterfactual their historical veracity. Such projects advance certain political, religious or socio-cultural worldviews or reinforce certain structures of power, preserving distinctions. While architecture has always conveyed ideologies or legitimized a particular social or political order, ‘reconstruction’ projects imagined to embody authority, or which transmit counterfactual histories, sit on the margins of our discipline. Yet they are profoundly interesting as material artifacts. The stories of their life in use are just as interesting as the stories of their procurement and construction. Striking in their own contexts, such “replicas” are often stranger when examined from another cultural, temporal or political vantage point.

The study of replicas is interdisciplinary, implicating architecture as well as philosophy, cultural studies, memory studies and cultural geography. We are interested in papers that examine:
• the intentions and anxieties of their patrons and makers
• the significance of retelling or reorienting stories and myths in the service of dominant or distinctive ideologies
• the shifting relations, incipient contradictions, or unwitting ironies that emerge between originals and replicas, as the latter respond to new programs, contemporary materialities, regulations and techniques of construction
• questions of collective memory, official history and the politics of preservation

Theoretically informed proposals that ground these questions in actual sites and practices from a broad range of geographies and time periods are welcome.

Session chairs: Adam Sharr, Newcastle University, adam.sharr@ncl.ac.uk Zeynep Kezer, Newcastle University, Zeynep.Kezer@ncl.ac.uk

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From the palace and pleasure garden to the military campaign and refugee camp, the tent exemplifies a realm that is ephemeral (although not evanescent), mediatory between the natural and built environments, and, as architecture ‘built’ out of textiles, insistently foregrounding a foundation in craftsmanship. Transformed into icons, tents have also been fixed in palatial and domestic interiors as ‘tent-rooms’ in places as geographically and historically diverse as, for example, the Norman palace in Palermo, Malmaison, and Graceland. Be it as structure, site, or icon, the tent offers a critical lens for investigating architecture’s fluid and yet (often) uneasy co-existence with nature, craft, and ephemerality. To date, the most comprehensive study of tent architecture (indeed, of tents as architecture) has been Peter A. Andrews’ Felt Tents and Pavilions: the Nomadic Tradition and its Interaction with Princely Tentage (1999). Andrews’ volumes not only offer a useful catalog of medieval and early modern tents, but they also draw attention to the ways in which tents instantiate a crucial meeting-point between East and West. This panel seeks to highlight the possibilities of rethinking architectural theory and practice afforded through a careful study of tents. Our session will take a wide angle view of the phenomenon of the tent, both geographically and chronologically, and so papers are invited that treat any place or period. Plausible topics include, but are not limited to, tents as gifts, engineers of alternate realities, markers of hybrid temporalities, textiles, sites of war, and symbols of an irrepressible pre-modernity.

Session chairs: Zirwat Chowdhury, Reed College, zirwat@reed.edu; William Tronzo, University of California, San Diego, wtronzo@yahoo.com

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If architecture and cities have long been characterized by fixity, groundedness, and a formative relationship to land, how might a maritime perspective shift our understanding? Following the pioneering work of Fernand Braudel on the Mediterranean, Kurti Chaudhuri on the Indian Ocean, and Paul Lovejoy on the Black Atlantic, historians have not only reinvigorated Mediterranean studies and encouraged the growth of trans- Atlantic studies, they have also begun to identify transnational geographies as similarly fruitful sites for exploration, including the Black Sea, the Swahili Coast, and the Red Sea. This session considers how historic connections across the sea—created through networks of trade, imperial expansion, systems of communication, and/or migrations of people—have facilitated the transmission of ideas about architecture and have shaped buildings and cities across these watery terrains.

We seek papers that explore, either in case studies or more broadly analytic investigations, the possibilities, challenges, and potential pitfalls of thinking architecture from the mid-fifteenth century to the present through an oceanic lens. Although the age of European exploration put many regions into commercial and cultural dialogue, we seek work that opens onto less familiar routes, such as the swansong of Ming exploration or Arab trade across the Indian Ocean. Papers engaging the urban scale are especially encouraged. Our aim is to bring together architectural historians who work on geographically disparate places to consider the methodological ties that bind them. What lessons might be learned about how buildings and cities are shaped by transnational networks built across systems of water and transformed by the movements and complex cultural affiliations of individuals and groups? How do we negotiate the desire for a global outlook with the localized dynamics of particular sites?

Session chairs: Sheila Crane, University of Virginia, scrane@virginia.edu; and Mark Hinchman, Taylors University, Malaysia, MarkAlan.Hinchman@taylors.edu.my

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A canon of landscape architectural history has emerged just as art and architectural historians have questioned the value and limits of the idea of any canon. Landscape history has expanded in the context of Marxist, feminist, and race-based critiques of established canons in art and architectural history. This critical condition has produced a landscape architectural canon both more inclusive and less defined, one at once more porous and thicker. Crossing disciplinary boundaries, scholars have investigated the complex connections between the fields of landscape architecture and architecture, ecology and environment, resiliency and sustainability, cities and urbanism. A canon of sorts has emerged, though by no means static or clearly grounded in any one approach. This session seeks to explore what the canon defines and what are the manifestations, limits, and potential areas of exposure. The session seeks to consider the role of critique in historical narratives and the development of the canon- where and what is the appropriate critical role? How has critique become an historical tool? Papers that consider landscapes in non-Western cultures would be appropriate, as would alternative views of canonic places. We encourage papers addressing the relationship of architecture and landscape architecture, urban design and planning, environmental design and analysis. Papers might present completed research projects or those still being theorized. We seek papers that suggest alternative views and challenging perspectives that will contribute to the growing body of scholarship in landscape architectural history.

Session chair: Thaisa Way, University of Washington, tway@uw.edu

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