New Book | Race and Modern Architecture

Posted in books by Editor on January 18, 2021

From the U. of Pittsburgh Press:

Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, and Mabel O. Wilson, eds., Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020), 424 pages, ISBN: 978-0822946052, $45.

Although race—a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination—has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. This volume offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. Challenging us to write race back into architectural history, contributors confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. By analyzing how architecture has intersected with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality—from eighteenth-century neoclassical governmental buildings to present-day housing projects for immigrants—Race and Modern Architecture challenges, complicates, and revises the standard association of modern architecture with a universal project of emancipation and progress.

Irene Cheng is an architectural historian and associate professor at the California College of the Arts. Charles L. Davis II is an assistant professor of architectural history and criticism at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Mabel O. Wilson is the Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and a professor in African American and African Diasporic studies at Columbia University.



Introduction — Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, and Mabel O. Wilson

I. Race and the Enlightenment
1  Notes on the Virginia Capitol: Nation, Race, and Slavery in Jefferson’s America — Mabel O. Wilson
2  American Architecture in the Black Atlantic: William Thornton’s Design for the United States Capitol — Peter Minosh
3  Drawing the Color Line: Silence and Civilization from Jefferson to Mumford — Reinhold Martin
4  From ‘Terrestrial Paradise’ to ‘Dreary Waste’: Race and the Chinese Garden in European Eyes — Addison Godel

II. Race and Organicism 
5  Henry Van Brunt and White Settler Colonialism in the Midwest — Charles L. Davis II
6  The ‘New Birth of Freedom’: The Gothic Revival and the Aesthetics of Abolitionism — Joanna Merwood-Salisbury
7  Structural Racialism in Modern Architectural Theory — Irene Cheng

III. Race and Nationalism
8  Race and Miscegenation in Early Twentieth-Century Mexican Architecture — Luis E. Carranza
9  Modern Architecture and Racial Eugenics at the Esposizione Universale di Roma — Brian L. McLaren
10  The Invention of Indigenous Architecture — Kenny Cupers

IV. Race and Representation
11  Erecting the Skyscraper, Erasing Race — Adrienne Brown
12  Modeling Race and Class: Architectural Photography and the U.S. Gypsum Research Village, 1952–1955 — Dianne Harris

V. Race and Colonialism
13  Race and Tropical Architecture: The Climate of Decolonization and “Malayanization” — Jiat-Hwee Chang
14  ‘Compartmentalized World’: Race, Architecture, and Colonial Crisis in Kenya and London — Mark Crinson
15  Style, Race, and a Mosque of the “Òyìnbó Dúdú” (White-Black) in Lagos Colony, 1894 — Adedoyin Teriba

VI. Race and Urbanism
16  Black and Blight — Andrew Herscher
17  And Thus Not Glowing Brightly: Noah Purifoy’s Junk Modernism — Lisa Uddin
18  Open Architecture, Rightlessness, and Citizens-to-Come — Esra Akcan


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