all modules

This module will consist four introductory lectures investigating the global architectural history of the city in sub-Saharan Africa from the twelfth century onward. The goal of the module will be to enable teachers of architecture and art history to present this material in a conceptually rich and globally situated manner. The course material would fit in a survey of architecture 1100 to the present day. This module investigates global architectural history, postcolonial… continue reading

This first lecture introduces the broad theme of sub-Saharan cities and settlements in the pre-1500 world. In order to deconstruct the widespread misconceptions about the absence of significant sub-Saharan cities before the arrival of the European colonizers in the continent, we will introduce and analyze three different examples of sub-Saharan settlements and their architecture. We will discuss how cities such as Kilwa, Benin, Great Zimbabwe, and M’banza Kongo became the ce…

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This lecture tracks multiple travel experiences of architects, artists, and scientists who crossed the Sahara from the 1850s to the twentieth century. It examines the itinerary of their trips, their drawings, and the photographic and filmed materials collected during their trips with a particular attention for the architectural and urban realm. Focus of our study will be the ginna, the Dogon main house, the compound of the Dogon village, the teleuk, or Mousgoum hut, and the …

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In looking at Johannesburg, South Africa, this lecture introduces three different waves of people migrating to and within the city from the gold boom of the 1880s to present time. This will allow us to discuss the topics of labor control, forced migration and displacement, focusing on the places of resistance to apartheid. In the first part of the lecture, we will discuss the process of colonization, soil exploitation and the scramble for resources in the Transvaal colony (a…

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In looking at the work of artists such as Yinka Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist living in the United Kingdom, and the brightly colored Dutch wax fabric he uses in his artwork, we will explore the concept of transoceanic exchanges, cosmopolitanism and hybridization within the contemporary challenging growth at work in Lagos, Nigeria. We will discuss Lagos as a global place of encounter and negotiation among traditions since the foundation of Lagos Island and its later pe…

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American architecture prior to the arrival of Europeans receives scant attention in survey courses of the Americas. To remedy this, this course considers the history of architecture and urban planning in the Americas before the European arrival. It is developed as a half semester supplement limited to 15 lectures. The intention is that GAHTC members can utilize the entire half semester program to develop a balanced course on the architectural traditions of architecture in Am… continue reading

This lecture introduces what I call the “Social Package” that travelled from Africa from around 60,000 BCE throughout the entire globe. Traditionally, the emphasis has been on tools and weapons; here I want to emphasize the integration of tools with art making, hut making, and dance. The tendency in the scholarship has been to see these things as separate and to focus on ‘firsts.’ The point I want to make in this lecture is to focus on the time when the various elements of s…

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In the last lecture, I introduced the idea of the “Social Package” that made us modern humans, from 150,000 or 200,000 BC through today. There is a lot more than can be said, but the lecture was intended to give the rudiments of a more elaborate discussion. This lecture moves the clock forward to the period called the Last Ice Age (ca. 24,000 BCE – 10,000 BCE). Though the world was uniformly colder than before, it was coldest in Europe, Russia, Siberia and Canada, which w…

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Shamanism is a generic term that describes a broad set of ritual beliefs about the human relationship to other humans and nature. It is linked also to Animism. This lecture introduces the broad parameters of shamanism while also trying to get students to realize that shamanism is not a ‘dead religion.’ In the last few decades, it has even been revived – just think of the so-called neo-pagans who flock to Stonehenge! So what we see today in some parts of the world is a mixtu…

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The Lecture is about the modern world. Shamanistic world views are not dead, but alive and well especially in Asia, but also Africa. To understand this, one has to take off the monotheistic blinders. Animism was incorporated into the core principles of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and is most present in Shintoism. We start therefore with the THE BI-CAMERAL THESIS, as coined by by Julian Jaynes. The idea is to get students to see an alternative way of describing the world. T…

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It is often argued that the Holocene set the stage for agriculture. This lecture starts from this premise, and demonstrates that the Holocene also set the stage for an expansion of First Society cultures. By 3,000 BCE, around the time we see the first cities in Mesopotamia, we see extensive First Society cultures developing in areas of particularly rich and diverse flora and fauna.   The most notable of these was the emergence of fish-based and ocean-shore societies that …

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This lecture studies the emergence of the mound and plaza cultures beginning around 3,000 BCE in the lower Mississippi River area. It discusses Poverty Point and brings the student up to the Hopewell Culture in Ohio, a culture that thrived almost exclusively on the ceremonial exchanges. We then focus on northern Peru. First will be the site of la Galgada, an early ceremonial center where irrigation systems were first developed in this area. We then move to the cultures of th…

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This lecture discusses the development of large ceremonial complexes in which the buildings play an active role as part of the ceremony. Some parts of these ceremonies involved large numbers of people and took place in outdoor spaces. Others were meant to be experienced individually in introspective ways, in underground, labyrinthine passageways. Scale, sound, and varying degrees of light and darkness contributed to enhance these experiences and punctuate them with culminati…

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This lecture tracks a long history of the rise of corn in the development of the Americas. We discuss the genetic development of teosinte into corn and its impact in the architecture and culture of Mesoamerica and North America. We follow the repercussions of corn centrism in the rise of the Olmecs and their colonization of the marshes in San Lorenzo and La Venta. We then skip forward to 200 CE to see the fulfillment of this food’s promise in the architecture of the Maya…

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During this lecture we will be looking at areas that are quite frequently left out of the narrative on architecture in the Americas. We will be looking at a series of Coastal sites along the Atlantic coast from the Caribbean to Canada and into Greenland. And we will look at each other these places through time as well. So we will be travelling temporally and geographically throughout this class.

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This lecture and the next will look at the developments in the present southwestern United States and northern Mexico prior to c.1100CE. This includes the Mogollon, the Hohokam, and the Anasazi. This lecture in particular will look at the Mogollon development of the kiva, space geared ceremonially around corn; Hohokam sites at Snaketown, where a large irrigation system was developed to support agriculture; Anasazi villages on Black Mesa; the interstitial site of Chaco Canyon…

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Mounds were by the far the most numerous architectural imposition in the landscape designed and constructed by the native populations in the present United States. These mounds developed in a number of ways, which this lecture makes evident. But in every case, they became ceremonial and ritual spaces important in the structuring the societies that built them. This lecture discusses the large cultures of the U.S. Southeast, starting with an extended discussion on the Cahokia,…

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This lecture discusses three interrelated, pre-Inca societies: the the Nazca, the Tiwanaku, and the Chimú on western coasts of Peru, Bolivia, and northern Chile. It will discuss the geoglyphs and underground aqueducts of the Nazca, the cosmographic city of Tiwanaku, and The Chimor Empire’s capital city Chan-Chan, an administrative capital that at its peak held an estimated 40-60,000 people.

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This lecture expands on the often­forgotten existing cultures of the Amazon basin, including the Shuar in Ecuador, the Yanomami in Brazil, and the Tairona in Colombia. It looks at their culture and their architecture such as the Shuar Huts, the unique shabono of the Yanomami, and the network village of Teyuna in Colombia. The sophisticated networks and tectonic structures of these villages has been dismissed because of its fragile status in comparison to the stone structures…

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This lecture discusses the interrelation of material and beliefs in the architecture and culture of the Inka Empire, which we should properly call by its name, the Tahuantinsuyo. We will start first with their coastal neighbors, the Chimu, and their adobe city of Chan Chán. The tall walls of Chan Chán were intricately carved and remind us the presence of multiple cultures throughout the western coast of South America. They were eventually subsumed by the Inkas, whose po…

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This lecture examines two cities, both capitals of empires in Central Mexico: the monumental city of Tula, capital of the Toltec, and the floating city of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Mexica. With the Toltec and Mexica we arrive to hierarchical societies in which monumental core buildings speak to the power of the rulers and elites. In Tenochtitlán, the ceremonial center is set apart from the common folk as they literally float around in artificial islands called chinampas. …

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This lecture looks at the continuing presence of the culture, buildings, and peoples of the Americas within the continent from the moment of conquest, throughout the repeated attempts at erasure, and in the present. We start with the moment of encounter and conquest, with the arrival of the Spanish to Tenochtitlán and examine the ruins of the city lying beneath contemporary Mexico City. We then go to Cusco and to the multiple layers within the Coricancha or temple of the …

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There remains a dearth of UG-focused, accessible material on non-vernacular African Architecture. A number of authors have now produced research papers and books covering various aspects of colonial and post-colonial architecture with a specific African focus or coverage of the region. In the continued absence of an African architecture survey primer, the GAHTC Introduction to West African Modernism series of lectures seeks to help fill this lacuna in its production of a reg… continue reading

This lecture seeks to introduce and set the background to the set of lectures on West African Modernism. It does this by first of all dealing with definitions and a short introduction to the literature related to modernism, the tropics and the key associated theories most cited. Issues such as geographies, regionalism, and actor networks are some areas which are also discussed. The lecture concludes by suggesting ways through which students might want to review the first set…

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This lecture focuses on the work of two architects, Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Beverly Drew, who worked extensively in the UK, India and Africa throughout the mid-20thC. Their pioneering work attempted to develop a ‘modernism’ for the ‘tropics’, and one an architecture that responded to social, political and aesthetic concerns. Jackson delivers a critical analysis of Fry and Drew’s body of work in West Africa and situates this within the broader themes of their engagement wi…

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The architects James Cubitt and Kenneth Scott, arguably were amongst the most powerful actors in the post WW2 the architecture scene in West Africa. Despite the partnership being relatively short lived both architects developed a joint approach best understood in their development of the KNUST campus in Kumasi, that helped underpin their future design activities in West Africa. This lecture discusses their joint development of the KNUST campus in Kumasi, Ghana and the subseq…

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This lecture relates university architecture in Anglophone West Africa to development and decolonisation politics. Development and decolonisation were central issues in mid twentieth century West Africa, and informed the activities of both architects and their critics. The lecture charts the rise and fall of an era in which ideas about university architecture, African liberation, and development were tightly intertwined. It starts in the 1930s, when nationalists demanded th…

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This lecture focuses on the shift of West African architecture and urban design from the colonial to the postcolonial periods, in particular in Ghana (independent since 1957) and Nigeria (independent since 1960). Specifically, this lecture will show the change of programs (broad distribution of housing and health, culture, education provision); technologies (emergence of local construction material industries and their modernization); education (emergence of new architectura…

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Imaginaries about Latin America place it at a considerable distance from the Islamic World. Languages, religions and cultural paradigms lead us to associate Latin America either with the Occident, the pre-Columbian or, in some countries, with the Afro culture. We rarely imagine links with the Islamic World. But, surprisingly, there are many connections between both cultures. First, because of Spanish Mudejar or Moorish heritage and then as a consequence of the Arab immigr… continue reading

Lecture Abstract: Imaginaries about Latin America place it at a considerable distance from the Islamic World. Languages, religions and cultural paradigms lead us to associate Latin America either with the Occident, the pre-Columbian or, in some countries, with the Afro culture. We rarely imagine links with the Islamic World. But, surprisingly, there are many connections between both cultures. First, because of Spanish Mudejar or Moorish heritage and then as a consequence of …

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Lecture Abstract: Imaginaries about Latin America place it at a considerable distance from the Islamic World. Languages, religions and cultural paradigms lead us to associate Latin America either with the Occident, the pre-Columbian or, in some countries, with the Afro culture. We rarely imagine links with the Islamic World. But, surprisingly, there are many connections between both cultures. First, because of Spanish Mudejar or Moorish heritage and then as a consequence of …

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Lecture Abstract: Almost all Latin American countries, declared their independence in the first half of nineteenth century. From that moment, these young American nations, ruled by elites of enlightened “Criollos”, began to look to European countries as models (especially France, England and Germany). Together with these new models, many European fashions and tastes came into Latin America, which had a huge impact on customs, arts and, of course, architecture (particularly…

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Lecture Abstract: In the recent context of globalization, in Latin America many architectural complexes emerged, which were conceived for spreading the Islamic culture. They are based on prismatic volumes with a decorative incorporation of traditional Islamic shapes, like arcs, domes and minarets. Because their monumental scale and privileged locations, these buildings have a significant urban impact in our cities, reinforced by their singular shapes that combines horseshoe…

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Los imaginarios sobre América Latina la ubican a una considerable distancia del Mundo islámico. Lenguajes, religiones y paradigmas culturales nos permiten asociar a América Latina con Occidente, lo Pre-Colombino o, en algunos países, con la cultura Afro. Raramente imaginamos vínculos con el Mundo Islámico. Pero, sorprendentemente, existen muchas conexiones entre ambas culturas. Primero, por la herencia Mudéjar y Morisca Española y luego, como consecuencia de los inmigrantes … continue reading

Los imaginarios sobre América Latina la ubican a una considerable distancia del Mundo islámico. Lenguajes, religiones y paradigmas culturales nos permiten asociar a América Latina con Occidente, lo Pre-Colombino o, en algunos países, con la cultura Afro. Raramente imaginamos vínculos con el Mundo Islámico. Pero, sorprendentemente, existen muchas conexiones entre ambas culturas. Primero, por la herencia Mudéjar y Morisca Española y luego, como consecuencia de los inmigrantes …

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El principal tema en este período es la continuidad de características islámicas en la cultura de las colonias españolas. Podemos encontrar en las sociedades hispánicas de los siglos XVI al XVIII muchos rasgos de la España Medieval Islámica. Cuando los españoles vinieron a América, trajeron su experiencia y conocimientos del legado hispano-islámica a este continente. Este tipo de cultura es conocida como Mudéjar Iberoamericano. (Desde el siglo XIX, el arte Hispano-Arabe post…

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Casi todos los países latinoamericanos declararon sus independencias en la primera mitad del siglo XIX. Desde ese momento, aquellas jóvenes naciones americanas, gobernadas por criollos ilustrados, comenzaron a mirar a los países europeos como modelos (especialmente Francia, Inglaterra y Alemania) Varios intelectuales y gobernantes de la región viajaron a Europa para aprender las nuevas propuestas que la ciencia y el arte podían ofrecer con el objetivo de contribuir al d…

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En el contexto reciente de la globalización, emergieron en Latinoamérica varios complejos arquitectónicos concebidos para difundir la cultura y religión islámica. Estos edificios son financiados por los ricos países petroleros del Golfo Pérsico con el objetivo de proveer una mejor infraestructura a los musulmanes de la región y a la vez, promover el crecimiento de la religión en el área. Frecuentemente son encargados a estudios de arquitectura del Mundo Islámico, u otros…

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This lecture examines the general concepts and principles of “the spirit of place” and “critical regionalism”. It looks at a few representative examples of architecture from different parts of the world through the lenses of “the spirit of place” and “critical regionalism.” We will then turn our attention to examples of modern architecture in Greece and Turkey. The lecture compares the work of architects Sedad Eldem (from Turkey) and Dimitris Pikionis (from Greece). Finally,… continue reading

First, we will examine the general concepts and principles of “the spirit of place” and “critical regionalism” Next, we will look at a few representative examples of architecture from different parts of the world through the lenses of “the spirit of place” and “critical regionalism.” We will then turn our attention to examples of modern architecture in Greece and Turkey. We will compare the work of architects Sedad Eldem (from Turkey) and Dimitris Pikionis (from Greece) Fina…

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Each lecture focuses on the overarching theme of how global modernity was made through specific moments of intercultural “encounter” (including war and colonization). ‘Local’ cultural production, aesthetics, and art making traditions should always be linked to larger geopolitical transformations. Key will be to explain how societies transformed each other in the context of the rise of capitalist globalization and how this “encounter” catalyzed a new way of being in the world… continue reading

This module explores the transformation of Asian trade networks and societies following the Mongol conquests in the 13th century. We focus on the circulation of architectural and artistic forms along the ancient Silk Route and the spread of Buddhism in Southeast Asia and the Himalayas. We explore the cultural connections of Ming China, its tension between dynastic authority and the increasingly powerful merchant class; the rise of the Ottoman, Timurid, Safavid, and Mughal em…

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This lecture, along with the two other lectures that it is associated with, uses certain eastern commodities (coffee, porcelain, and Indian textiles) to conceptualize spatial and geographic relationships in ways that offer an alternative to the pervasive state-centered narratives which fix territory in more static and landbound ways. Yet, this is the only one of the three that looks at a comestible product, the other two examine manufactured wares, and are thus much more foc…

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In this lecture, we will look at what made Chinese porcelain, and particularly blue and whites, so desirable during this time. We will then consider the various ways that we can understand Chinese porcelain historically, as it circulated around the globe, enticing audiences wherever it went. As you will see, Chinese porcelain was coveted from Amsterdam to Istanbul to Mexico City, so its impact was extraordinarily far reaching. Moreover, it inspired many imitations. Thus, Chi…

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This lesson introduces students to one of the most iconic monuments in the world: the Taj Mahal. It emphasizes the theme of cross-cultural encounter throughout. The lecture begins by laying out historical coordinates, with slide and lecture points on the Mughal empire (1526-1858), the patron Emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1627-58), his wife Mumtaz Mahal (d. 1631) (the interred), and the architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori (d.1649). It then introduces students to the urban context of Mughal…

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This lecture focuses on two cities, Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Mexica Empire, and Mexico City, the capital of New Spain. Because Mexico City was built upon and drew sustenance from the Mexica capital, the lecture addresses both urban space and colonial projects in early modernity. At issue are two questions: (1) how were urban capitals in the Americas organized as physical spaces, both before and after colonization; and (2) how does colonization shape what we can know …

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Architectural histories of colonial North America tend to highlight the architecture of European settlers and trans-Atlantic connections: saltbox houses in New England, grand estates such as Monticello in Virginia, plantations in Louisiana. This unit, by way of contrast, turns to the western United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Mission of San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores) in San Francisco, California forms the focus of this unit, which consi…

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This lecture focuses on the House of Wonders, a grand palatial and administrative center standing on the waterfront of Zanzibar City, which now is part of the nation state of Tanzania and once acted as an important Swahili coast center of maritime trade and exchange for centuries. In many ways the patron and builders of the House of Wonders drew on ancient local and Indian Ocean architectural precedents, but they also fused them with forms from the North Atlantic world, espe…

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This lecture explores the global history of mass housing in the twentieth century. From war-damaged Europe to suburban California and from apartheid Johannesburg to high-rise Singapore, the lecture surveys the major types of housing that have accommodated the world’s unprecedented population growth and in doing so, have shaped the vast expansion of our urbanized world. It focuses not only on the ideas of architects and planners and the schemes of developers, but also the com…

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While in a few Middle-Eastern countries such as Iran, Egypt and Turkey, the process of modernization started from the mid-nineteenth century, it gained a new momentum in the aftermath of the Second World War, in the whole region. The period of ‘post-war corporatist compact’, as Kevan Harris called it, saw the US hegemony pervade the region and sponsor aided state-led development. In the context of the early Cold War period, the US implemented a geopolitical strategy of negot… continue reading

Lecture 1 | Exporting American Architecture & Lifestyle (1948-58) By focusing on the period between 1948 and 1958, the first lecture provides materials to discuss how the export of American household commodities and cars, under the Point IV program, set a basis for the expansion of a new lifestyle among Iranians. To this end, this lecture firstly addresses the impact of the American technical and self-help aids, such as the home-economy program, on the domestic life of ordi…

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Lecture 2 | Recasting Public Housing Practices in Iran: The Example of Kuye Kan (1958-68) In the previous lecture, I looked at the ways through which the capitalist mode of consumption and production led to the development of a design manual for the city of Tehran. The second lecture firstly discusses how this manual shaped the built environment of a prototypical housing model known as Kuy-e Kan in West-Tehran; and how Iranian architects used this model to stimulate a new l…

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This lecture provides an overview of Armenian Church architecture. It sets the architectural tradition within the landscape and history of the Armenian plateau. Armenian churches flourished in the medieval period and developed a distinctive construction method, floor plan, and decorative style. Each example is considered in the context of regional and global architectural currents, including Byzantine and Iranian. The lecture also considers the legacy of medieval Armenian ar… continue reading

This lecture provides an overview of Armenian Church architecture. It sets the architectural tradition within the landscape and history of the Armenian plateau. Armenian churches flourished in the medieval period and developed a distinctive construction method, floor plan, and decorative style. Each example is considered in the context of regional and global architectural currents, including Byzantine and Iranian. The lecture also considers the legacy of medieval Armenian ar…

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This course surveys the rise of the building tradition in the East European Plain between the end of Antiquity and the 16th century CE, when the autochthonic wooden construction skills were supplemented by imported stone masonry expertise. It situates preserved and excavated monuments of pre-modern Russian architecture within the political history of Old Rus’ and its contacts with the Byzantine Empire, Germanic lands, Scandinavia and the Eurasian steppes. Beginning with wood… continue reading

The lecture covers the earliest phase of architectural history in the East European Plain from the end of Antiquity until the end of the 10th century AD. The continuous construction of kurgans (burial mounds) linked the ancient Scythian culture with the architectural production of the Scandinavians, who around the 8th century AD discovered a shortcut from the Baltic to the Black and the Caspian Sea via the network of East European rivers. In the East European Plain the Norse…

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This lecture explores the early phase of assimilation of the Middle Byzantine tradition of masonry church architecture in medieval Rus’ after its Christianization by Prince Vladimir at the end of the 10th cent. CE. It focuses on the introduction of the cross-in-square churches from Constantinople and possibly northern Anatolia and Bulgaria first in Kiev and Chernigov--the southern urban centers of Rus’ in modern Ukraine--and subsequently in Novgorod and Polotsk in Russia and…

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This lecture discusses the original synthesis between the Middle Byzantine architectural tradition and the Romanesque construction and decoration techniques that defined the ecclesiastical and palatial architecture of Vladimir-Suzdal’ region in the northeastern lands of Rus’ during the second half of the 12th and the first quarter of the 13th century. The princes of Vladimir attracted masons from the Holy Roman Empire in modern Germany and northern Italy. These Romanesque ma…

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The lecture introduces the students to the gradual process of the adaptation of the Middle Byzantine tradition to the conditions of northwestern Rus’. Two major centers of northwestern Rus’, the commercial republics and city-states of Novgorod and Pskov, developed a distinct type of patronage: most of their churches were commissioned by merchants, bishops and chief administrators of the republics rather than the princes as in the other part of pre-Mongol Rus’ and later in th…

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Based on fragmented existing evidence, this lecture reconstructs the history of the Golden Horde architecture in the East European Plain between the 13th and the 16th centuries. During this period, the progressively islamicized nomadic empire of the Golden Horde and its successor states were in continuous conflict with the Slavic and Christian Orthodox principalities of northeastern Rus’, gradually united by the Grand Principality of Moscow. This conflict determined the post…

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After the Mongol conquest, most of the old urban centers of Rus’ (with an exception of Novgorod and Pskov) declined; in northeastern areas Vladimir and Suzdal’ were gradually overtaken by Moscow, which eventually established control over most of the East European Plain. With the progressive increase of wealth under their control, the grand princes of Moscow were able to fund construction that reflected their imperial aspirations. Yet already in the 15th century they discover…

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The lecture explores the most complex and original phenomenon of medieval Russian architecture – churches with tent (shatër) domes that appeared in the middle of the 16th century and were prohibited in the middle of the 17th century by Russian Patriarch Nikon as a deviation from the Byzantine canon of Christian religious architecture. Clearly distinct from the Middle Byzantine tradition of cross-in-square plan characteristic of most masonry structures in medieval Rus’ and th…

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Many surveys discuss the Celts, but only after Rome invaded under Caesar beginning in 58 BC. In reality the Celts came to dominate most of Europe beginning in the 5th century. New research in the last decade has made it clear that the Celts were not the strange wild barbarians that the Romans made them out to be. They were important trading partners for the Romans, providing copper, gold, iron and tin. The Celts also provided a tremendous organizational skill to the dispara… continue reading

Many surveys discuss the Celts, but only after Rome invaded under Caesar beginning in 58 BC. In reality the Celts came to dominate most of Europe beginning in the 5th century. New research in the last decade has made it clear that the Celts were not the strange wild barbarians that the Romans made them out to be. They were important trading partners for the Romans, providing copper, gold, iron and tin. The Celts also provided a tremendous organizational skill to the dispara…

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Among the wide range of materials that humans consume, substances such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and tobacco seem to form a separate category: humans take these so-called stimulants or psychoactive substances less for their nutritional benefits than for their capabilities in altering their moods or the status of their minds. The fact that materials containing similar chemical compounds were used in different regions of the world underscores their inherent physiological appe… continue reading

Lecture 1 provides an overview of the structure of the module and an introduction to its main themes and concepts. The lecture will then offer a broad overview of the precursors of coffeehouses and teahouses in the pre-1500 world. This introductory part aims to set the module in a longer trajectory of human existence on the globe. The lecture will then focus on the history of wine and beer and their socio-spatial dimensions in the ancient world. This would provide a backgrou…

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In the previous lecture, we looked at the emergence of coffee as a novel social drink in the eastern Mediterranean in the 16th century. This lecture deals with the architecture of coffeehouses, from the mid-sixteenth-century to mid-eighteenth-century. In each context, we start with a broad description of the introduction of coffee and the coffeehouse and the circumstances of their transfer, along with a detailed analysis of one or two representative examples. The lecture end…

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Lecture 3 first offers an overview of the ways in which the emerging trade networks affected the dissemination and popularization of new substances. Using maps and diagrams, we will explain how a new web of maritime trade dominated by European powers was formed. The various trajectories of coffee, chocolate, and tobacco distribution across the globe will serve as illustrations of the workings of this newly formed colonial system.

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This lecture offers a global architectural history of teahouses. Starting with Chinese tea culture, the lecture will specifically focus on the development of the Japanese tea ceremony and its architectural setting. The lecture will then consider the teahouse in the global context from the seventeenth century onward. We will specifically focus on the emergence of the British tearooms and tea gardens, which will be explained in the context of the hegemonic colonial presence of…

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Lecture 5 begins with a brief review of colonial production and trade of coffee in the mid-18th century. We will first focus on the emergence of coffeehouses as self-contained structures—first in private gardens, and then in public ones— in the late 18th century/early 19th centuries. The second part examines urban coffeehouses in the same period. We examine how coffeehouses became sites of urban leisure for European bourgeoisie during the first half of the 19th century. The …

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This lecture course unpacks spaces of contestation and encourages students to think critically about how specific sites and objects have participated in the construction of class, race, and gender. Building on the histories of art and architecture, the course proposes the category of “space” as an alternative to the geographic, aesthetic, and analytic categories that have shaped the canons of these two disciplines. The lectures address those historically excluded from these … continue reading

Our week on “the closet” traces a long history of the architecture of privacy and asks how the “closet” came to signify a space of familial secrets and forbidden sexualities. We are looking at the “closet” both as an architectural site that raises boundaries and marks rites of passage, as well as a metaphor that structures sexualities around visibility and obscurity. We open the concept of the closet to a transcultural understanding, comparing and contrasting the various way…

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This lecture will take us to England and the United States, and then to Tehran, Iran. We will explore how the domestic architecture of privacy developed in England alongside shifting cultural notions and practices of individuality, privacy, and the self.

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This lecture introduces the kitchen as a space of both communal exchange and arduous labor, from the spaces of food preparation in the Americas at the time of the European arrival to the start of the 20th century. The lecture presents the kitchen as a domestic, private space that contains multiple transnational narratives of trade, from raw materials to the migrating populations it employs in the modern era, minorities and women. A broader narrative arch traces the struggles…

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This lecture continues the theme of labor in the kitchen into the second half of the 20th century. The lecture will examine the tension between public and private, communal and individual spaces in the preparation and consumption of food. The notion of the communal kitchen puts pressure on the increasingly private and isolated workspace created by the conditions of industrial capitalism. Particularly in the west, these conditions create a physical separation of household spa…

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The first lecture examines how although never formally a colony of a Western country, Iran’s strategic location and natural resources made it subject to indirect—what may be called semi-colonial—political and economic intervention by the West. The essence of this semi-colonial character is revealed in the design and function of architecture and urban planning in Abadan and this lecture features the very many ways in which this semi-colonial atmosphere influenced the resident… continue reading

This lecture is prepared for Domesticity across Space and Time Module of GAHTC. Numerous sources have been used for this module. However, the most prominent ones are listed below and they are required reading for this lecture. Although never formally a colony of a Western country, Iran’s strategic location and natural resources made it subject to indirect—what may be called semi-colonial—political and economic intervention by the West. The essence of this semi-colonial chara…

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This lecture is prepared for Domesticity across Space and Time Module of GAHTC. The main sources that were used are listed below and are required reading. This lecture shows how larger policies of the Cold War and the Iranian government influenced domesticity. Something as simple as new ways of cleaning the house can be traced to America’s exercise of “quiet diplomacy” in Iran. Revisiting this era fosters understanding of the culture and daily life of people not just in Iran…

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The first lecture explores how earth has been conceptualized and
integrated into African thought and architectural practice as material, metaphor, environment, and intervention over time. Some of the first known man-made environments on the African continent were carved out of rock features in the landscape, and from this point of origin, cultures across the continent would proceed to develop a variety of distinctive architectural traditions and material practices that were … continue reading

This lecture explores how earth has been conceptualized and
integrated into African thought and architectural practice as material, metaphor, environment, and intervention over time. Some of the first known man-made environments on the African continent were carved out of rock features in the landscape, and from this point of origin, cultures across the continent would proceed to develop a variety of distinctive architectural traditions and material practices that were regul…

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Picking up where the previous lecture left off, this lecture explores the ways in which earth and architectural practice has evolved in the contemporary period in the context of increased concern around issues of pollution, unsustainable development, and the widespread depletion of natural resources in Africa. Architects are increasingly turning to so-called vernacular materials like earth and experimented with different methods of construction technology in an effort to est…

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This course focuses on the architectural traditions and conventions of East Asia, especially those of China, Korea, and Japan, and highlights the cross-cultural aspects of their great cities and monuments. The aim is to reveal that what has often been considered “traditional” in Asia was actually a constantly evolving process driven by dynamic cultural exchanges among different cultures and civilizations of its extensive regions. “Globalization” is not an invention of the co… continue reading

East Asia is a relatively clear idea defined by geography, culture, political constitution, and history. For more than two millennia, the high culture of the region was part of the Chinese cultural sphere, most centrally defined by the influence of Chinese script, Classical Chinese, and the wide range of cultural practices that it entails. At the same time, East Asia contains a vast diversity of political entities, ethnic communities, and language groups. China is presently …

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We know very little about Neolithic and Bronze Age architecture in East Asia. Many regions were not under centralized governance yet during this period, thus the lack of permanent monumental construction. Housing, often built with temporary material, and often succumbed to the lapse of time and easily vanished in repeated redevelopments during the following eras. The life and history of this remote past survived only fragmentally in legends and artifacts. In recent years, ar…

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Fengshui (pungsu in Korean, literally “wind and water”) is a theory in East Asia to identify the best locations in nature for a city or a building. In China and Korea, with the belief that the fengshui of the ancestral tomb or living residence influences the fortune of the descendants and the prosperity of the family, consulting a fengshui master is important for the construction of both residential and funerary architecture. Confucianism highlights family values and vener…

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The practices of laying out cities with regard to the geomantic principles of fengshui, enclosing and subdividing urban space within an orthogonal grid of walls and thoroughfares, and creating a hierarchy of space based upon functional and status considerations makes up one of China’s most significant contributions to the global history of urbanism. The rational, gridded order of the Chinese city served as metaphor and reinforcement for compelling ideologies of centralized …

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The extraordinary legacy of art and architecture associated with the teachings of Buddhism constitute one of the most enduring elements of cultural connection among diverse cultures in Asia. Originating in South Asia, these teachings found multifarious and complex pathways over both land and sea to find followers in cultures as distinct in their values as they separated by geographical distance. The history of East Asian Buddhist architecture, and Buddhist belief and pract…

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The extraordinary legacy of art and architecture associated with the teachings of Buddhism constitute one of the most enduring elements of cultural connection among diverse cultures in Asia. Originating in South Asia, these teachings found multifarious and complex pathways over both land and sea to find followers in cultures as distinct in their values as they separated by geographical distance. The history of East Asian Buddhist architecture, and Buddhist belief and pract…

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Buddhist architecture since the 14th century became more and more integrated into local cultures, creating colorful mixtures in philosophy, ritual practice, as well as architectural space, form, and decoration. Major dynasties and cultural periods in East Asia since the 14th century Maritime route connection, replacing the land route Silk Road, became the main venue for cultural exchanges. Influences from mainland East Asia on Japan and the Korea Peninsula were mainly fr…

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This lecture focuses on the palatial residences, together with the surrounding monumental ritualistic structures that legitimatize their claims to rule, highlighting the period between 1400 and 1800 but also tracing its ideological origins to earlier monuments. Centered on the major capital cities of the Ming and Ching dynasties in the continent, the Joseon Dynasty in the Korean peninsula, and the castle complexes of the late Muromachi and Momoyama period in Japan, the city …

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Literati culture boomed in East Asia since the 10th century. The greatest architectural expression of the literati culture is the private garden, where all intellectual and artistic activities associated with the literati taste took place, such as poetry, calligraphy, painting, qin zither playing, weiqi (go in Japanese) chess, refined theater, and antiquarian connoisseurship.

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Though traditional histories of East Asian architecture inevitably focus upon the gridded cities, extraordinary structural, decorative and iconographic complexity of religious architecture, and the scale and technical sophistication of the centers of elite power, the built environment of ordinary people in all cultures is one of the most diverse and rich in world architectural history. This is so partly for simple reasons of scale – East Asia for most of world history has h…

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The nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a fundamental shift in the power structure of the world and of the East Asian region. Marked by the loss of the Opium wars, the Qing Dynasty went into radical decline. At the same time, Japan ascended as a world power by quickly absorbing and adapting to Western technology. With this fundamental shift in the power structure of the region, East Asia enters a fascinating, tragic historical period of imperialism and colonialism, of…

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The unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of World-War II marked the beginning of a new world order that has directly shaped the environment that we now live in. The ensuing decades of the Cold War saw the rise of communist China, the division of the Korean peninsula into north and south, the disarmament and democratization of Japan and its re-emergence as an economic powerhouse. Even though the conditions of architectural production among the newly-born nation states…

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Este curso se centra en las tradiciones y convenciones arquitectónicas de Asia oriental, especialmente las de China, Corea y Japón, y destaca los aspectos interculturales de sus grandes ciudades y monumentos. El objetivo es revelar que lo que a menudo se ha considerado "tradicional" en Asia fue en realidad un proceso en constante evolución impulsado por intercambios culturales dinámicos entre las diferentes culturas y civilizaciones de sus extensas regiones. La "globalizació… continue reading

Si bien las historias tradicionales de la arquitectura de Asia oriental se centran inevitablemente en las ciudades reticuladas, la extraordinaria complejidad estructural, decorativa e iconográfica de la arquitectura religiosa, y la escala y la sofisticación técnica de los centros de poder de la élite, el entorno construido de la gente común en todas las culturas es uno de los más diversos y ricos en historia arquitectónica mundial. Esto se debe, en parte, a razones simples d…

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El siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX significaron un cambio fundamental en la estructura de poder del mundo en general y de la región de Asia Oriental en particular. Marcado por la pérdida de las guerras del opio, la dinastía Qing entró en decadencia radical. Al mismo tiempo, Japón ascendió como potencia mundial al absorber y adaptarse rápidamente a la tecnología occidental. Con este cambio fundamental en la estructura de poder de la región, el este de Asia entra en un per…

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La rendición incondicional de Japón y el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial marcaron el inicio de un nuevo orden mundial que ha dado forma al entorno en el que vivimos hoy. Las décadas posteriores a la Guerra Fría vieron el surgimiento de la China comunista, la división de la península coreana en el norte y el sur, el desarme y la democratización de Japón y su resurgimiento como una potencia económica. A pesar de que las condiciones de producción arquitectónica entre los est…

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Asia oriental es una idea relativamente clara definida por la geografía, la cultura, la constitución política y la historia. Durante más de dos milenios, la alta cultura de la región fue parte de la esfera cultural china, definida de manera central por la influencia de la escritura china, el chino clásico y la amplia gama de prácticas culturales que conlleva. Al mismo tiempo, el este de Asia contiene una gran diversidad de entidades políticas, comunidades étnicas y grupo…

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Sabemos muy poco acerca de la arquitectura neolítica y de la Edad de Bronce en el este de Asia. Muchas regiones no estaban aún bajo un gobierno centralizado durante este período, por lo tanto, no hubo una construcción monumental permanente. Las viviendas, a menudo, fueron construidas con materiales temporales, y con frecuencia sucumbieron al paso del tiempo y se desvanecieron fácilmente en remodelaciones repetidas durante las siguientes épocas. La vida y la historia de este …

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El Fengshui (pungsu en coreano, literalmente "viento y agua") es una teoría del este de Asia para identificar las mejores ubicaciones en la naturaleza para una ciudad o un edificio. En China y Corea, con la creencia de que el fengshui de la tumba ancestral o residencia viviente influye en la fortuna de los descendientes y la prosperidad de la familia, consultar a un maestro del fengshui es importante para la construcción de la arquitectura residencial y funeraria. El confuc…

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Una de las contribuciones más importantes de China a la historia global del urbanismo es la práctica de diseñar ciudades con respecto a los principios geománticos del fengshui, delimitar y subdividir el espacio urbano dentro de una red ortogonal de muros y vías, y crear una jerarquía de espacio basada en consideraciones funcionales y de estado. El orden racional y cuadriculado de la ciudad china sirvió como metáfora de las ideologías de control centralizado que encontraron u…

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El extraordinario legado del arte y la arquitectura asociados con las enseñanzas del budismo constituyen uno de los elementos más perdurables de conexión cultural entre las diversas culturas de Asia. Estas enseñanzas, que se originaron en el sur de Asia, encontraron caminos múltiples y complejos por tierra y mar para conseguir seguidores en culturas tan distintas en sus valores como separadas por la distancia geográfica. La historia de la arquitectura budista de Asia orienta…

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Después de la introducción del budismo en Corea y Japón como una herramienta impulsada por la élite para la centralización socio-política y económica de arriba hacia abajo entre los siglos IV y comienzos del VIII, surgieron nuevas variedades de pensamiento budista para expandir la base de su práctica a franjas más amplias de la sociedad. Esta ampliación se produjo en conjunto con reacciones a veces violentas e incluso una supresión total del budismo, un sistema de creencias …

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En Japón, el budismo zen llegó a una base cada vez más amplia de la sociedad. Patrocinado por los nuevos gobernantes samurai del período Muromachi, la austeridad ritual del budismo zen, el énfasis en la disciplina física e intelectual y la estricta adhesión a los conceptos de la transmisión maestro-acólito resultaron particularmente atractivos para los líderes que no eran considerados suficientemente cultos por las debilitadas elites de los aristócratas que habían dominado …

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Esta clase se centra en las residencias palaciegas, junto con las estructuras rituales monumentales circundantes que legitiman las pretensiones de los gobernantes, destacando el período entre 1400 y 1800, pero también rastreando sus orígenes ideológicos hasta monumentos anteriores. Está centrada en las principales ciudades capitales de las dinastías Ming y Ching en el continente, la Dinastía Joseon en la península coreana y los complejos de castillos de finales del período M…

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La cultura literati creció en el este de Asia desde el siglo X. Su mayor expresión arquitectónica es el jardín privado, donde se realizaron todas las actividades intelectuales y artísticas asociadas con el gusto literati, como poesía, caligrafía, pintura, práctica de la cítara, ajedrez, weiqi (go en japonés), teatro, y el saberes anticuario. Esta cultura, que primero floreció en la región de Jiannan del Delta del Yangtze en el sur de China, también influyó en las culturas…

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The general aim of this module is to help frame the beginning of a survey of architectural history. Lectures are designed to be a little over an hour long, but can be lengthened or shortened or combined as required. The material covers some basic aspects of First Society cultures (Lectures 1-4) and the transition to agriculture, pastoralism and city building (Lectures 6-10).

This lecture introduces what I call the “Social Package” that travelled from Africa from around 60,000 BCE throughout the entire globe. Traditionally, the emphasis has been on tools and weapons; here I want to emphasize the integration of tools with art making, hut making, and dance. The tendency in the scholarship has been to see these things as separate and to focus on ‘firsts.’ The point I want to make in this lecture is to focus on the time when the various elements of s…

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In the last lecture, I introduced the idea of the “Social Package” that made us modern humans, from 150,000 or 200,000 BC through today. There is a lot more than can be said, but the lecture was intended to give the rudiments of a more elaborate discussion. This lecture moves the clock forward to the period called the Last Ice Age (ca. 24,000 BCE – 10,000 BCE). Though the world was uniformly colder than before, it was coldest in Europe, Russia, Siberia and Canada, which w…

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Shamanism is a generic term that describes a broad set of ritual beliefs about the human relationship to other humans and nature. It is linked also to Animism. This lecture introduces the broad parameters of shamanism while also trying to get students to realize that shamanism is not a ‘dead religion.’ In the last few decades, it has even been revived – just think of the so-called neo-pagans who flock to Stonehenge! So what we see today in some parts of the world is a mixtu…

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Rock Art accompanied all First Society cultures the world over. Its meaning and purpose can only be known through conjecture. This lecture introduces some examples and introduces the idea of Sacred Landscape. The lecture moves to what are certainly the most spectacular examples – the caves in southern France and northern Spain, made by the Magdalenian Culture. The history of these caves is not known definitively, but they were probably begun by the Gravettians. As the cli…

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This lecture introduces the Holocene (around 10,000 BCE) and its consequences for the development of social forms. It is often argued that the Holocene set the stage for agriculture. This lecture starts from this premise, and demonstrates that the Holocene also set the stage for an expansion of First Society cultures. By 3,000 BCE, around the time we see the first cities in Mesopotamia, we see extensive First Society cultures developing in areas of particularly rich and …

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At the core of the lecture is a map that differentiates the forest- and shore-based societies of the north and the emerging monsoon-based societies around the equator. It is to the latter that the word ‘civilization’ is often linked. What tends to be forgotten in that narrative is the emergence of the pastoral tradition and its new relationship to animals. Pastoralism developed in Africa and West Asia and had a huge impact on the social structure in the area of Africa-Eur…

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This lecture is dedicated to agro-pastoralism, where agriculture and pastoral traditions blend into a single village-based worldview. Pastoralism and agro-pastoralism develop more or less at the same time, but in different eco-landscapes. The emergence of agro-pastoralism begins around 9,000 BCE and involves the concentration of energy around a single set of plants. Whereas First Society people used many plants in various ways, agriculturalists began to elevate one or two ab…

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The first four centers of agriculture were Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus region, and China. These places expanded outward from a clear center. Different is the story of Europe, where the agro-pastoral revolution arrived after expanding westward and northward from Mesopotamia, starting 5,500 BCE and reaching Ireland around 4,000 BCE. There were two main tracks, one overland through Romania and Germany, and one along the coasts of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The latter…

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At the same time as the expansion of the agro-pastoral tradition across Europe, we see in Malta the emergence of a unique culture built not around self-sustaining agriculture, but a religious economy. As difficult as it might seem to the modern mind to imagine, this site in Malta was one of the first great regional sites of the world – perhaps even more important than Stonehenge, with which it has parallels. People came from afar by boat to visit one of the temples, to expe…

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This lecture covers the East Asian agricultural/horticultural worlds. I start with Hemudu, one of the first places where rice was grown agriculturally. The expansion of rice to the islands would come, however, remarkably late. First there was the Polynesian expansion, which did not involve rice, but a host of plants that were connected to solving the problems of food, clothing, building materials and the like. This ‘civilizational package’ was highly mobile and brought by b…

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This is a long lecture that can easily be shortened or split into two. It covers the emergence of cities in the Tigris-Euphrates marshes. Unlike the conventional approach, which ‘naturalizes’ this phenomenon as part of the inevitable march of civilization, I want to make sure students realize that at that time, the first cities were highly speculative and filled with extreme risk. They had economies that had never been attempted before, namely single production economies (th…

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“Global Cities in Cinema” addresses the global in relationship to four cities―Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, and Tokyo―and the films that represent them. Recent sociological discourses of the “Global City” propose that it is a contemporary phenomenon produced by heightened mobility – of capital, goods, and people across national borders – enabled by electronic technological advances and transportation technologies. The module takes a dual focus: on the one hand, on the global i… continue reading

The lecture on Los Angeles and Tokyo creates a basis for a discussion of the global characteristics of the respective city films with individual histories of urban development, architecture, film cultures, and their histories. Attention to global influences reflects the circulation and reception of transnational exchange between the two cities and their film cultures. The history of urban planning, design, and architecture of Los Angeles emphasizes car culture and highways, …

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The lecture on Berlin and Paris discusses films that depict the two respective cities in their own right and in relation to each other. Berlin as a city functioned in national and global contexts. While the Nazi regime imagined a highly nationalist state with its central capital envisioned as “Germania,” its anti-Semitic and anti-communist politics led many urban designers, filmmakers, and architects to flee Germany and influence a global imaginary of modernist art and archi…

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The first part of this lecture chronicles two phases of Shanghai’s globalization. The first phase known as “the treaty port phase” began with Britain’s victory in the First Opium War (1839–42), which inaugurated the making of Shanghai into a global city. This phase ended with the Japanese occupation of Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) and the subsequent Second World War, when most foreigners fled the city, bringing Shanghai's 101 years as a treaty port …

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The second part of this lecture presents how films represent Shanghai’s current global status, the historic globalization processes that have shaped the city, and the tensions between high-end and low-end globalization processes, using four films—Skyfall (2012, English Directed by Sam Mendes), Meili xin shijie [Beautiful New World] (1999, Directed by Shi Runjiu), Yima de houxiandai shenghuo [The Postmodern Life of My Aunt] (2006, Directed by Ann Hui), and Suzhou he [Suzhou …

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The first part of this lecture investigates how Bombay was built and imagined as a cosmopolitan city through Hindi cinema, through the use of urban sites and architectural icons that are nodes within global architectural and urban histories. Bombay’s public spaces such as—Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, Maidans, bazaars, and parks— are landmarks that have come to represent the cosmopolitanism of the city. These landmarks are rendered cosmopolitan due to their complex…

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Part 2 of the lecture presents how the film Slumdog Millionaire represents the most recent phase of Bombay's globalization and its name change to Mumbai. Slumdog Millionaire is the life story of the Muslim protagonist Jamal who is a contestant on the TV show “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” [“Who wants to be a Millionaire”] in Mumbai. Jamal’s life and the story of the transition from Bombay to Mumbai are narrated in the film through a series of questions on the quiz show. The film …

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This GAHTC module focuses on the global history of climate as a consideration in architectural ideas and practices. It is intended to operate either as a ‘stand-alone’ subject in relevant courses, or as part of a broader history of global architecture or of architecture and the environment. Through a series of six lectures, the module describes how climatic concerns have developed as an input to architectural design processes in many different global regions. The histori… continue reading

This lecture provides a launching point into some of the issues involved with tracing an architectural history through the lens of climate. The lecture is divided into two parts. The first addresses the shifting concept of the “primitive” within architectural culture, especially as it was evoked as a symbol for ideas of naturalness and climatic adaptation. The second and third parts, revolving around two case studies, add to this historiographic narrative by introducing the …

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The records of non-western architecture prior to the 19th century are relatively scarce. This is because much of the continental land mass south of Europe’s Iberian region, and coastal North Africa remained unexplored territory to European explorers of the 16th and 17th century. Whilst in global history, from the 16th century, there is a marked increase in inter-continental trade, with new trading and communicating networks being established to support this, the built physic…

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This lecture is concerned with the development and exchange of ideas and principles that have informed the designs of towns, buildings and landscapes in former British colonial territories (late17thC – Mid 20C). We will be looking at what Georg Simmel called the ‘visible institutions of the state’ – that is, those buildings and projects that enabled the British Empire to exist - the very mechanisms for imperial advancement. We will be focusing primarily on four geographical …

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The purpose of this lecture is to demonstrate links between architecture and climate that developed from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Part 1 begins by illustrating how attempts to treat and prevent tuberculosis, an urban disease, had a direct impact on the development of architectural typologies and forms. As the treatment of tuberculosis was closely linked to the environment and climate, architects around the world had to design buildings (in the main sana…

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This lecture discusses the importance of climate to the development of architectural modernism in the period surrounding World War II. Starting off with some of the basic climatic principles championed by Le Corbusier in the late 1920s, the lecture then discusses developments in Brazil and the United States. A primary focus is on the chains of influence and counter-influence between these different regions, and many others as well, that led to the refinement of the use of sh…

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This is the final lecture of the series. In this lecture, we examine a new technology – air-conditioning – and discuss its sociotechnical and architectural histories, i.e. how it shaped and was shaped by both the society and the built environment. Although this series of lectures is organized in a loosely chronological manner and air-conditioning appears to be the latest instalment in the history of climate control, I argue that the architectural history of air-conditioning …

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Islamic art and architecture, like any other form of art that attempts to characterize the material production of a particular faith or variety of cultures over the longue durée, simply cannot be understood as an autonomous artistic development. Indeed, scholars of Islamic art and architecture, over the past decade or so in particular, have demonstrated that the field is characterized by a dialogic process of development rather than an autonomous or mimetic one that depends … continue reading

This lecture begins with an examination of brick and its development and history before Islam. Next, brickmaking and the use of brick is charted through the Islamic culture. The lecture concludes with contemporary uses of brick and the evocative meaning of such use. The history of brick architecture is the history of civilization. With the spread of Islam new urban centers were created, and the technology of making bricks, fired and glazed bricks, transported where Islam…

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One of the most ubiquitous and prolific decorative materials found throughout the history of Islamic art and architecture is the ceramic tile. Tiles in a variety of forms are found throughout the history of Islamic architecture including: those inherited from the Byzantines and Sassanians, the East Asian white porcelain tile, as well as luster tile and faience, to further developments such as overglazing and the discovery of fritware techniques and underglazing. While it is …

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The use of dressed stone in architecture signifies the knowledge of advanced stone working technology. The concept of shaping stones began with the invention of the first stone tools. Those stones were broken and sharpened using other stones through knapping. Stone that has been cut, shaped into a smoother planar form so that stones fit together are called dressed stone. The production of dressed stone requires knowledge about stone properties to determine, or invent, the ap…

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Stucco was first employed in Iran for the primary reason of a lack of building stone. It was used in this way to not only conceal the surface inconsistencies in brick, the dominant building material, but also as a transitional material between various wall surface media. Through decorative ornamentation and geometric patterning inconsistencies in the wall were covered. It soon became a dominant architectural feature firmly associated with the Abbasid caliphate. Howeve…

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It is well known that the pointed arch appears in buildings around the Mediterranean and Central Asia prior to even its adaption by Islam, much less its appearance at St. Denis, Paris in the 12th century. However, despite this, the origins of the pointed arch and the pointed ribbed vault and the paths they traveled across Eurasia before becoming an ‘Islamic’ or ‘Gothic’ architectural characteristic par excellence remain largely a mystery. The intent of this lecture is to ope…

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El arte y la arquitectura islámicos, como cualquier otra forma de arte que intente caracterizar la producción material de una fe particular o una variedad de culturas a lo largo de una “longue durée”, no puede entenderse simplemente como un desarrollo artístico autónomo. De hecho, los estudiosos del arte y la arquitectura islámicos, en particular durante la última década, han demostrado que el campo se caracteriza por un proceso dialógico de desarrollo en lugar de uno aut… continue reading

La historia de la arquitectura de ladrillo es la historia de la civilización. Con la expansión del Islam se crearon nuevos centros urbanos y se transportó la tecnología de fabricación de ladrillos, en particular ladrillos cocidos y vidriados, a los nuevos territorios. ¿Qué es ladrillo? ¿Qué hace que un ladrillo sea un ladrillo? Es un material de construcción hecho por el hombre, su componente principal es la arcilla que se extrae de la tierra. La selección de sus componen…

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Nuestra narrativa comienza aquí en la Gran Mezquita de Kairouan. Se presenta en una disposición típica de la llamada “planta en T." Tiene una pared exterior circundante con un gran patio y una sala de oración (hipóstila) que tiene varias naves en su profundidad. Las dos cúpulas sugieren un eje que alinea el robusto minarete cuadrado. En la culminación de este eje debajo de la última cúpula adyacente a la pared exterior está el mihrab - o nicho que indica a los fieles la dire…

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La piedra, junto con la madera, es uno de los materiales de construcción más antiguos que se obtienen fácilmente de la naturaleza. La primera herramienta humana fue de piedra lo que fue un logro tecnológico importante y de empoderamiento. En las cuevas, la piedra proporciona refugio y protección. La piedra es duradera, fuerte y difícil para darle forma. La dificultad en adquirirla, transportarla y moldearla la convierte en un material especial que tiende a la permanencia. Po…

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Los romanos usaban el estuco de forma bastante extensiva para los relieves escultóricos en las paredes interiores de los edificios. Era más barato y más rápido tallar estuco en lugar de piedra. “El estuco y el yeso tienen como base la materia prima de cal o yeso. La cal se produce a partir de la combustión de la piedra caliza a una temperatura de 880 ° C o de la quema de mármol a 1000 ° C. La piedra seca y quebradiza que resulta se convierte en una sustancia fluida y cremos…

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El propósito de esta clase de ninguna manera es probar o refutar ningún origen particular para el 'arco apuntado'. Esta idea, originada en los siglos XVIII-XIX permanece incompleta y muchas de las teorías que permanecen se han derivado a diversos temas y, a menudo, han caído en falacias o reduccionismos ad absurdum. Teorías sobre los orígenes del arco apuntado y la llamada "teoría gótico-sarracena de la arquitectura", por ejemplo, se han escrito en Europa desde al menos med…

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This course presents a series of six introductory lectures describing the characteristics and global history of so-called ‘rock-cut’ architecture, or the subtractive architecture that is embedded within a native geological mass. Such structures are found worldwide, as residences, churches, shrines, meditation spaces, civic structures and tombs – rock-cut architecture occupies a central place in many global civilizations. It even persists into the present day in forms such as… continue reading

This lecture will introduce the theoretical basis to ‘chthonic’ work, in contrast with tectonic. Shown as residences, churches, shrines, meditation spaces, civic structures and tombs, rock-cut architecture occupies a central place in many global civilizations - even persisting into the present day in forms such as subway systems, underground market spaces, and the occasional itinerant work of architecture. In ‘rock-cut’ architecture, the structure is deeply integrated with…

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This lecture provides an interpretation of the Pharoanic architecture of the Nile River valley through the lens of the chthonic. Beginning with the Old Kingdom, this lecture argues that the iconic forms – from the mastaba to the stepped pyramid, and eventually to the great pyramid complexes of Cheops - are proto-chthonic ‘mountains’ created over burial sites: Pyramids as shaped mountains, in conversation/ on cross axis with the flowing water of the Nile. During the middle K…

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Concurrent developments in Mesopotamia display similar chthonic roots. Beginning with the ziggurat form as a ‘sacred mountain’ – a mass containing the source of all life, reaching towards the sky with labyrinth-like passages and openings. In Persia, this sensibility is evident in the Tomb of Cyrus outside of Pasargarde – an assembled stone mass that mimics the earlier ziggurats. Like the Egyptians, the Persians then transitioned to rock-cut tombs for Darius, Xerxes, and…

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The Persian Empire had a massive influence over the rising Mauryas in India. After the conquest of Persepolis by Alexander, the craftsmen and thinkers of Persia migrated East to India – taking their expertise and aesthetic ideology with them. Stone pillars with animal capitals transitioned directly, while other forms had a more tangential influence. The rock-cut tombs and treasuries of West Asia, may have been the direct precedent for the first Buddhist and Jain caityas a…

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The main theme is the concept of the ‘chthonic-ecology’, where the body of the earth is understood as a living system - soil, earthquakes, snow, water, sun, air interdependencies - that can be characterized as ecology in the modern sense of the word. This is chthonic architecture not as the ‘rock-cut’, as in Afro-Eurasia, but the chthonic as a complete understanding of landscape and the environment: a chthonic ecology. The lecture begins with the chthonic forms of the Puebl…

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This lecture explores the unexpected appearance of rock-cut architecture in more modern context. As we have seen, the chthonic idea flourished as architecture in pre-modern times. With the onset of modernity, the longstanding separation of the native ground from the capital-A architecture became dominant, particularly with the ascent of the functionalist, materialist and tectonic contentions of architecture. As per the expectations of the European Enlightenment, the empowere…

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This course presents a series of 7 introductory lectures locating the pre-islamic architecture of sub-continental south Asia in its global context. The emphasis in this module is not on identifying the characteristics that supposedly make the architecture of South Asia distinctive ‘Indian’ or ‘Hindu’, but to understand a. what the characteristics and meanings of so-called Indian architecture are, and b. to locate these in terms of their local and global contexts. My goa… continue reading

This lecture addresses the question of the ‘beginnings’ of South Asian civilization. It locates the migrations out of Africa that ‘settled’ South Asia, and then traces the context of the art and architecture of the cave dwellers, with focus on Bhimbetka, a centrally located pre-historic site (this section can be presented in context with the GAHTC lecture module on the Architecture of the First Societies, by M. Jarzombek). The lecture then moves to the contexts of the establ…

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This lecture focuses on the Aryas, and in particularly their metaphysics as manifested in their architecture. The lecture begins with a discussion of the controversial Arya Migration Theory, and its racist sub-texts, and attempts to distinguish that from the globally situated understanding of the migratory influences on cultural development, in particular in South Asia. This leads to a discussion of the making of Arya cities in the Gangetic plain, and what connects and disti…

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This lecture is the first of two parts that explore the forms of Buddhist architecture, their relationship to trade, and their proliferation in the Asian world. In this sequence, this lecture discusses the establishment of Buddhist architecture under Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BCE, and its spread in South Asia and south East Asia. The main architectural object of discussion is the ‘stupa’. The lecture begins with the rise of the Mauryan Empire and its relationship …

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This lecture combines two topics – a. the institutional transmission of Buddhist thought from centers of intellectual production in India, and b. the role of the Caitya in the transmission of Buddhism into East Asia, along the trade routes. The lecture begins by establishing the mahavihara, the Buddhist ‘university’ that was a systematic site for the production and teaching of advanced Buddhist knowledges. From here the lecture moves to the study of the practical institut…

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This lecture is dedicated to the development of Hinduism in the Guptan period in South Asia. This development took place in the context of the ongoing spread of Buddhism throughout Asia, which has been covered in other lectures. Usually, the Guptans are held responsible for the ‘demise’ of Buddhism in India, its home of origin. By contrast this lecture will argue that the Guptas, who were generous patrons of the Buddhists in their realms, sought to revive Hinduism, in harmon…

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This lecture explores the development of the temple concept in the South Asian world affected by the Guptan invention of the structural, in particular focus on the peninsular Indian kingdoms of the Pallavas and the Chalukyas. In the process of ‘adopting’ the Guptan institution of the Hindu temple, these kingdoms did not simply cut-and-paste the new orthodoxy, nor did they produce a regional adaptation, in the sense that they ‘localized’ principles that were abstract and clai…

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This lecture focuses the relationship between Hindu temples and administrative systems. It begins with a discussion of the polity and architecture of the Rajputs of northern India, the ‘new’ kings, converted from first-societies practices into ‘caste’ Hindus. We study the new manuals of temple building – the Vastu-Shastras – and some of their famous architectural creations. The Bay of Bengal/SE Asian geo-sphere around the year 1000CE. The Bay of Bengal and the Indian Oce…

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This is a discussion of the Khmer socio-economic matrix in terms of its innovation of Cholan kovil practices. It outlines the hydro engineering and the social systems that were integrated by the Khmer to create a uniquely powerful polity in SE Asia. The main case study is Vrah Vishnulok (Angkor Wat), which can be understood as a spatialization of Mouth Meru, here adapted to the local geographical conditions.

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This lecture addresses the so-called establishment of Islam in South Asia. While colonial texts usually identify the invasions of Mohammand Ghazni and Ghori around 1000CE as the beginning of Islam in India, this lecture contends that these are colonial projections, and that the actual story of Islam and south Asia goes back to the older ongoing trade between West Asia and South Asia. This lecture then examines the architecture of the Delhi Sultanates, a series of short lived…

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The concept of this lecture is to discuss the Mughal tomb. It focuses on the Taj Mahal and its precedents.

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These five lectures revisit architectural histories (itihasas) of the Indian Subcontinent from multidisciplinary, cross-geographical, and interpretive perspectives, supported by a new body of scholarship and archaeological data. The word for “history” in Sanskrit is itihasa, which has traditionally meant “that’s what happened” or “so indeed it was.” Yet, iti (as in itihasa) is often used in a Sanskrit sense of “end quote.” Itihasa, therefore, in its traditional usage has oft… continue reading

These lectures revisit architectural histories (itihasas) of the Indian Subcontinent from multidisciplinary, cross-geographical, and interpretive perspectives, supported by a new body of scholarship and archaeological data. The word for “history” in Sanskrit is itihasa, which has traditionally meant “that’s what happened” or “so indeed it was.” Yet, iti (as in itihasa) is often used in a Sanskrit sense of “end quote.” Itihasa, therefore, in its traditional usage has often be…

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This lecture examines Mughal architecture, one of the most vibrant and dynamic architectural eras in India. The Mughal dynasty was established in 1526 CE by Babur, descendant of the Timurid Mongols. A Muslim dynasty of Turkic-Mongol origin, the Mughals ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid-18th century. During its imperial rule stretching over more than two centuries, the Mughal Empire created a spectacular body of mausoleums, mosques, palaces, and gard…

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This lecture focuses on the early colonial era of the British Raj and explains how British artists in the 18th and 19th centuries imagined India in ways that were complicit with imperial domination and the creation of Britain’s image of India. After the East India Company’s victory over the Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, British artists eager to “discover” the newly conquered territory in the East had begun arriving in India. Among them were such renowned …

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A “Global” History of South Asia (3000 BCE – 2000 CE) This lecture examines how the British Raj employed the language of architecture during its colonial rule of India to project an image of Britain as the leader of the “civilized” world and assert the authority of the empire. In many ways, the colonial administration viewed architecture as an integral part of its ideological approach of “civilizing mission.” However, a singular narrative of the architecture of empire didn’…

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This lecture examines the how the newly minted nations of India and Pakistan negotiated the questions of national identity and modernism through the language of architecture. In the wake of the Indian Partition in 1947, these nations looked both outward and inward for inspiration, marked by an urge to construct an image of progress, modernity, and nationalism. But, as Salman Rushdie’s celebrated novel, Midnight’s Children (1981), reveals how the traumatic experience of birth…

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Este curso presenta una serie de 7 clases introductorias que ubican la arquitectura preislámica del sur del subcontinente Asiático en su contexto global. El énfasis en este módulo no está en identificar las características que supuestamente hacen que la arquitectura del sur de Asia sea distintiva como "india" o "hindú", sino para entender a. cuáles son las características y significados de la llamada arquitectura india, y b. ubicarlos en términos de sus contextos locales … continue reading

El concepto de esta clase es discutir la tumba Mogola. Se enfoca en el Taj Mahal y sus precedentes.

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Esta clase aborda la cuestión de los "comienzos" de la civilización del sur de Asia. Localiza las migraciones fuera de África que se "asentaron" en el sur de Asia, y luego rastrea el contexto del arte y la arquitectura de los habitantes de las cavernas, centrándose en Bhimbetka, un sitio prehistórico céntrico (esta sección se puede presentar en contexto con el módulo GAHTC sobre la Arquitectura de las Primeras Sociedades, por M. Jarzombek). Luego, la clase pasa a los context…

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Esta clase se centra en los Arios, en particular su metafísica y como se manifiesta en su arquitectura. La clase comienza con una discusión sobre la controvertida Teoría de la Migración Aria, y sus subtemas racistas, e intenta distinguir ello de la comprensión globalmente situada de las influencias migratorias sobre el desarrollo cultural, en particular en el sur de Asia. Esto lleva a una discusión sobre la construcción de las ciudades Arias en la llanura del Ganges, y lo qu…

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Esta clase es la primera de dos partes que exploran las formas de la arquitectura budista, su relación con el comercio y su proliferación en el mundo asiático. En esta secuencia, esta clase trata acerca del establecimiento de la arquitectura budista bajo el emperador Asoka en el siglo tercero antes de Cristo, y su difusión en el sur de Asia y el sudeste asiático. El principal objeto arquitectónico de discusión es la 'estupa'. La clase comienza con el surgimiento del Imper…

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Esta clase combina dos temas: a. la transmisión institucional del pensamiento budista desde los centros de producción intelectual en India, y b. el papel de la Chaitya en la transmisión del budismo al este de Asia, a lo largo de las rutas comerciales. La clase comienza estableciendo el mahavihara, la "universidad" budista que era un sitio sistemático para la producción y enseñanza de conocimientos budistas avanzados. Desde aquí, la clase pasa al estudio de las institucion…

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Esta clase está dedicada al desarrollo del hinduismo en el período Gupta en el sur de Asia. Este desarrollo tuvo lugar en el contexto de la expansión del budismo en toda Asia, que se ha tratado en otras clases. Por lo general, se ha entendido que los Gupta son responsables de la "desaparición" del budismo en la India, su hogar de origen. En contraste, esta clase explica que los Gupta, que fueron generosos mecenas de los budistas en sus reinos, buscaron revivir el hinduismo, …

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Esta clase explora el desarrollo del concepto de templo en el mundo del sur de Asia afectado por la invención Gupta, en particular el enfoque en los reinos indios peninsulares de los Pallava y los Chalukya. En el proceso de 'adoptar' la institución Gupta del templo hindú, estos reinos no simplemente “cortaron y pegaron” la nueva ortodoxia, ni produjeron una adaptación regional, en el sentido de que 'localizaron' principios que eran abstractos y universales. Este no es un mod…

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Esta clase enfoca la relación entre los templos hindúes y los sistemas administrativos. Comienza con una discusión sobre la política y la arquitectura de los rajput del norte de la India, los "nuevos" reyes, surgidos de las prácticas de las primeras sociedades hindúes de "castas". Estudiamos los nuevos manuales de construcción de templos, los Vastu-Shastras, y algunas de sus famosas creaciones arquitectónicas. La geoesfera asiática de la Bahía de Bengala / SE alrededor d…

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Esta clase es una discusión de la matriz socio-económica de los Jemer en términos de su innovación de las prácticas Kovil Chola. Describe la ingeniería hidráulica y los sistemas sociales que fueron integrados por los jemeres para crear una política única y poderosa en el sudeste asiático. El estudio de caso principal es Vrah Vishnulok (Angkor Wat), que se puede entender como una espacialización de Monte Meru, aquí adaptada a las condiciones geográficas locales.

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Esta clase aborda el llamado establecimiento del Islam en el sur de Asia. Mientras que los textos coloniales generalmente identifican las invasiones de Mohammand Ghazni y Ghori alrededor de 1000 DC como el comienzo del Islam en la India, esta clase sostiene que estas son proyecciones coloniales, y que la historia real del Islam y el sur de Asia se remonta al comercio entre Occidente Asia y Asia del Sur. Esta clase luego examina la arquitectura de los Sultanatos de Delhi, una…

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This course proposes to analyze the global turn as it relates to the industrial revolution and the regimes of circulation of goods and commodities, knowledge, experts, techniques, people, and labor that it introduced and supported. We contend that these regimes posed new challenges to the discourse and practices of modern architecture that yielded substantial innovations during the mid nineteenth century that changed and consolidated in the second half of the twentieth centu… continue reading

We identify and discuss the contribution of world exhibitions and fairs to global production and consumption of good and commodities as it relates to the emergence of new spaces of display and commercial collectivity. Case studies range from the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of London (1851) to the urban department stores of Europe (Innovation by Victor Horta in Brussels and Schocken by Erich Mendelsohn in Germany) and suburban shopping malls in the post world war t…

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We identify modes of knowledge creation and dissemination in different media over time. Whereas travel was the most important source of direct learning during the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century, the proliferation of printed matter and photography expanded the possibilities of learning from afar and was eventually even more radically transformed by the advent of the digital revolution. When travel was not possible, the plaster cast functioned as a surroga…

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As education moved from in-situ learning to spaces of collectivity, so too did opportunities for architects and students of architects to converge into the transcultural classroom. If colonialism promoted exchanges between nations, it was not until nationalism asserted itself that institutions began to formalize education. Together with the increased media, this lead to the rise of greater networks of collaboration and the rise of the international competition.

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Here, the question is: How can construction practices be regarded as global processes? We identify and analyze a series of producers of products alongside the emergence of new construction techniques and technologies. This lecture aims at illustrating the increasingly complex circulation of different materials and methods that go against the grain of the traditional vernacular ideal of sourcing local materials that has recently re-gained momentum within the ‘green’ and envir…

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Dramatically increased mobility throughout the last century has generated both increased dialogue and new types of buildings that have accommodated new forms of transport ranging from air and train to automobiles. This phenomenon has given way to a number of diverse types of buildings including the Motel, Hotel, Airport, and Train Stations.

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The building industry has increased relied upon labor moved across geographies that reveals the economic disparities between regions and cities of the global north and south. These exchanges reveal the paradoxes between the virtual and real insofar as the needs of actually building in specific places go counter to the global circulation of ideas and capital.

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Appreciation develops from understanding. The goal of this course is to introduce and foster an understanding of architecture as a central component of the built environment and of the ways in which architecture exemplifies cultural values. Architecture is all around us and part of our daily lives. It refers not only to buildings: architecture is human settlement, the physical settings made by humans for their traditions, rituals, living, working, and community-buildin… continue reading

This course serves as an introductory course to the history of ancient built environments. We will become familiar with the language of built environments including the vocabularies of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. We will also be introduced to ideas that have shaped the cultures we know today, from the Western Culture of Europe to that of China, India, and some of the many cultures of the African continent. This is a survey course and an introduct…

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Today's monuments range geographically from Korea to France, England, Ireland and Egypt, and in date from the 5th to the 1st millennia BCE. What unifies them is their use of stone - used for a range of building types that speak to a human desire to provide enduring monuments on the landscape. While we may have monuments that have endured from very early dates, we don't always have full knowledge of why they were built or what purpose they served. Our earliest examples tod…

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Lecture 3 continues an examination of materials and explores the broader context within individual monuments were sited, looking at the settlements that preceded the emergence of cities, which will be the topic of Lecture 4. With these we address several among the sites of the world's earliest civilizations, in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China and Mesoamerica.

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While small villages comprised the earliest settlements, we can also identify the beginnings of early urban settlements if we define urban as a center of population, commerce, and culture - a town of significant size and importance. We can recognize these settlements as constituting a series of networks, from social networks and governmental systems to modes or systems of commerce, trade, and production. A city is the result of urbanization, which can be thought of as a pro…

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This is the first of two lectures that focus on architecture and ritual, exploring the ritual spaces and architectural forms that developed along with enduring religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. These religions both originated in the Indian subcontinent and were later exported along trade routes, taking hold across Asia. Both symbolically and architecturally, the religious monuments we'll now explore demonstrate strong ties to the landscapes of their settings.

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This lecture is the first of a sequence of two lectures that focus on the building of empire, looking at the empires established in Rome, China and Central (or Meso-) America. We will look at the architectural forms and effects on the built environment of these political systems. In the case of Rome and China we are discussing vast territorial holdings and long durations - and we have a great deal of information about each of these empires. The situation in Central Americ…

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This lecture will focus on the building of empires, how were the empires manifested in the built environment? We have looked at Rome and then moved to Meso or Central America, where we will pick up today and finally to China. These were distinct empires, sharing characteristics but as with all of the built environments we have studied, there are specific response to place, to landscape, to environment, to culture, and to practices including trade, politics, and power. Th…

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This lecture will focus on the question of how did secular developments and trade influence the form of cities in the later medieval period? The increasing importance of cities as places of trade, commerce, defense, and culture is a development that parallels the rise of Gothic architecture in Europe. A part of the rise of the city reflects the growing significance of building and environments that are not tied to the church or to religious institutions but instead serve …

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This course aims to introduce the growing importance of cultural heritage and historic preservation. Over the past decades, fostered not the least through international organization like UNESCO’s World Heritage Center or the New York based World Monuments Fund, heritage preservation has become a global movement. Following a historical and comparative perspective the course seeks to go beyond the Euro-American understanding of architectural heritage which is still very much … continue reading

This lecture introduces both the notion and the dynamics of heritage as a global movement. Starting with Rem Koolhaas’ provocative statement “preservation is overtaking us”, the lecture aims to show why heritage has become an important topic for architects and architectural historians. For this the lecture focuses on three different forces: urbanization, tourism and identity.

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The aim of this lecture is to explore the emergence of preservation and conservation as public policy activities in Europe. Following the argument that preservation is a modern undertaking, it shows how preservation practices emerged from both the political and the industrial revolution. The lecture is divided in five parts. The first part introduces the topic by questioning the universality of preservation. The second part discusses the interest in documenting antiquity in …

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This lecture explores the internationalization of the preservation movement as a “modern cult” (Riegl). It is organized into three parts: the first part deals with the global expansion of the “cult” in the context of World Fairs. The second part addresses responses to WWI in terms that addressed issues related to technology and functionality in the realm of architecture and preservation. The third part focuses on the “Salvage of Abu Simbel” – the celebrated showcase of UNESC…

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This lecture discusses the political dimension of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention as a legal contract between the UNESCO and the individual member states that have signed the convention. The first part explains the background of the convention. The second part explains how the convention actually works. The third part addresses the challenges the World Heritage Convention is facing.

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This lecture discusses the tensions and frictions that arise when heritage infringes upon the life of those living in and with heritage sites. At the center stands the conflict between object-focused experts and the national government issuing the laws regulating preservation, and the local communities where preservation is enacted. In other words, as much as heritage can be a matter of national pride it can also be a source of conflict over ownership. Once again the questi…

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This lecture will address issues surrounding architectural materiality, and the way in which materiality is factored in into strategies of architectural preservation that are filtered through memory. Many of these themes also relate to the rather ambiguous concept of authenticity, particularly with regards to the role that materiality plays in the establishment of what might be considered the “genuine” or the “original” character of an architectural form. This module will fo…

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This lecture will address issues surrounding the immaterial and the question of “intangible” heritage with regards to how conceptual, not physical, elements such as memory, orality, and historical practice play a role in strategies of architectural preservation. Many of these themes also (again) access the rather ambiguous concept of authenticity, particularly with regards to the role that the proceedings of the 1994 Nara Conference played in highlighting the necessity of br…

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The lecture focuses on the different forms, types and value criteria when discussing heritage and preservation. Is “value” rooted in the architectural object or in the quality of the relationships enabled by the object? Or is “value” first and foremost an economic asset that needs to be judged in terms of the amount of revenue that a particular heritage is able to generate? Since heritage is a heterogeneous concept, it is not surprising that the notion of value in heritage p…

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This lecture will address issues surrounding the multiple and entangled functions of heritage in cases where issues of trauma, disenfranchisement, and oppression make up a large part of a structure’s narrative. It will focus specifically on the politics of cultural identity, recognition, and social remembrance and how heritage conservation, especially with regards to “difficult heritage,” can never just be concerned with the preservation of the physical structure, but also a…

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This lecture looks at the relationship between heritage and property on a national, global and local level. In doing so, it seeks to explore the relationship between heritage and the power of control. Ownership of heritage gives the right to control access to places, as well as and the information people are allowed to know once they are at a particular site. We will look into several key concepts and ideas including repatriation, the right to preserve a particular version o…

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This lecture will address issues surrounding architectural mimicry, and the roles this approach to structural form plays in reimagining heritage, tradition, and authenticity. It also provokes discussions concerning the idea of architectural heritage as not only unique and one-of-a-kind, but also fundamentally place-based with its originality fundamentally embedded in a specific time / place matrix as a requirement for the establishment of what might be considered the “genuin…

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This final lecture considers both heritage and its documentation, specifically around 20 and 21st century “digital heritage” and digital capture technologies. We will look at the emergence of “digital heritage”, the most recent UNESCO category of heritage with its own unique form of conservation and preservation. Two case studies will be able to address several themes, including memory, authenticity, and preservation.

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This module encourages a closer look at the emergence of architectural commonalities and differences within the span of a “time cut.” By discussing examples of architectural innovations representing different parts of the world, we hope to better understand how social, cultural, and economic interactions on a global scale are essential pieces that form our global history and the manner in which architectural production is always triangulated by the exigencies of time and loc… continue reading

Columbus’ infamous voyage to the Americas took place by the end of the 15th century, an event often lauded as a “discovery” and the beginning of a new age. However, if we tell the stories of global human interaction as one beginning with the European “Age of Exploration,” we miss the dynamic shifts that were taking place technologically, economically, and culturally elsewhere in the world that make up the fabric or serve as catalysts for global expansion. These lectures aim …

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By the 17th century, the Eurasian world from Japan to Western Europe was a contiguous economic power bloc connected by well-established cross-country and coastal trade. From one end to the other, wealth and ideas traveled in the baggage or minds of traders, migrants, and armies. This was the Old-World order that was now increasingly undermined by the newly arising and more efficient ocean trade. Eventually by the 19th century, the advantages of the ocean routes, the unpreced…

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By the early 18th century, the Eurasian Power Bloc became increasingly marginal to the new maritime port economy that was set up and controlled by Western European colonial powers. This maritime colonial project was a global phenomenon intrinsically linked with the institutionalization of race-based slavery. At the foundation of this global system were sites of fortified enclosure and of labor. Both the fort and the plantation greatly transformed the social, cultural, and en…

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The time cut 1800 is a watershed moment in terms of the advent of modernity. While Europe was quickly increasing in global strength and power, China was still the world’s largest power in 1800. This lecture discusses the world in the midst of a radical transformation that was deeply connected to social and industrial revolutions. In particular, this lecture discusses the impact of the American and French revolutions on Enlightenment ideas, resulting in the first set of democ…

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This lecture discusses the influential manifestation of the European Beaux-Arts ideal in America through the City Beautiful Movement and its far-reaching effects in America’s most recent imperial acquisition: the Philippines. Also discussed is Germany’s war with a world that had grown powerful on colonial riches: World War I. The fallout of World War I permanently cleared out all vestiges of the pre-industrial, pre-colonial world and ultimately even spelled the death of the …

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In colonial historiography, architecture in South Asia is stylistically classified as Neoclassical, Gothic, and Indo-Saracenic. The debates on style in South Asia were closely tied to the nationalistic battles between proponents of the Neoclassical and Gothic styles in Britain. In the South Asian colonial context, the debate over an appropriate style hinged on how architectural styles should represent Britain’s status as the imperial ruler of South Asia—whether colonial arch… continue reading

In colonial historiography, architecture in South Asia is stylistically classified as Neoclassical, Gothic, and Indo-Saracenic. The debates on style in South Asia were closely tied to the nationalistic battles between proponents of the Neoclassical and Gothic styles in Britain. In the South Asian colonial context, the debate over an appropriate style hinged on how architectural styles should represent Britain’s status as the imperial ruler of South Asia—whether colonial arch…

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This lecture traces the history of Free Economic Zone as an urban typology and global infrastructure. Although originating from the idea of the 16th century Free Ports, Free Zones, as we know them today, are essentially post-World War II phenomena, molded in the intersection of multiple global agents and processes. These include the emergence of global institutions such as the UNIDO—United Nations Industrial Development, technological innovations, foreign trade and rise of i… continue reading

This lecture traces the history of Free Economic Zone as an urban typology and global infrastructure. Although originating from the idea of the 16th century Free Ports, Free Zones, as we know them today, are essentially post-World War II phenomena, molded in the intersection of multiple global agents and processes. These include the emergence of global institutions such as the UNIDO—United Nations Industrial Development, technological innovations, foreign trade and rise of i…

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This lecture is partial introduction to Japanese architecture history as seen through the builder. The lecture, divided primarily by political periods and national laws, will examine the laws regarding builders, the words used to describe them, and the relation these two have with longevity of product, meaning both finished building and traditions associated with the building process. This lecture will focus on structures first built between roughly 600 CE and 1100 CE. Im… continue reading

This lecture is partial introduction to Japanese architecture history as seen through the builder. The lecture, divided primarily by political periods and national laws, will examine the laws regarding builders, the words used to describe them, and the relation these two have with longevity of product, meaning both finished building and traditions associated with the building process. This lecture will focus on structures first built between roughly 600 CE and 1100 CE. Im…

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The cultural and artistic traditions that developed around the shores of the Mediterranean have traditionally been studied as autonomous developments. When exchanges or borrowing were acknowledged, they usually focused on the influence that European motifs had on the Eastern Mediterranean, starting in the eighteenth century. The aim of this project is to focus on preceding centuries, illuminating the rich web of cultural, artistic and especially architectural exchanges that … continue reading

This lecture poses our fundamental historiographical question: what are the origins of medieval European architecture?  In Part I, it rehearses the conventional answer—that medieval art and architecture continue western, classical traditions; but it confronts that answer with the realization that we simply haven’t sufficiently conceived the late antique and early medieval world as one in which the East and the West were strongly interconnected.  By surveying some of the magn…

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Pendentive domes—or domes with a circular plan used as vaulting for a square hall—emerged in Byzantine architecture. That well known fact has not, however, been explained. This lecture offers an explanation for the elaboration of pendentives as the result of the encounter of two different architectural practices concerning domes: classical Roman and eastern vaulting traditions. Roman builders made the footprint of vaulting match the footprint of the room or structure that su…

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This lecture presents early Islamic, or Umayyad, Architecture and its relationship to Late Antiquity. It examines the sequence of well-known Umayyad monuments, which appear to have engaged in a vibrant referencing process that treated Antiquity as a heritage to appropriate, build upon, or, sometimes, to deconstruct.  In that it did not differ much from Latin Europe and Byzantium, both of which looked to the classical heritage as theirs through the lens of Christianity. Byz…

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The medieval monuments of the Armenian high plateau, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, are typically ignored in histories of art and architecture. Yet they are abundant, sophisticated in design and decoration, and bear inscriptions of historical importance. This lecture will introduce the architecture of medieval Armenia, demonstrating the importance of Armenian monuments for an understanding of the seventh century, when the Armenian plateau was at the center (and not th…

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The Great Mosque of Cordoba, founded around 784 and expanded in the latter half of the tenth century, is one of the most striking monuments of world architecture. The red and white arches that distinguish its prayer hall and portals, its interior support system of double arcades, polylobed arched screens, and its gold mosaics and ribbed domes are iconic. Yet, while this monument is undoubtedly innovative, details of its construction and decoration also illustrate how medieva…

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Christian Europe expected the world to end in the year 1000. When that fateful year passed, a century and a half of church building (with attendant sculpture and painting) followed, on a scale and of sophistication not seen since the fall of the Roman Empire. In 1814, Thomas Rickman coined for the architecture of this period the term “Romanesque,” that is to say, “like the Romans.” The term colored the perception of architectural historians studying that period. They focused…

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As part of this module’s examination of mobile architectures and spatial mobilities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this lecture investigates mobile architectures in relation to war in the history of the twentieth century. The lecture offers a study of constructions of global activity and the aesthetics and politics of the built environment within or in response to armed conflict, such as: the design and construction of fortifications or camouflage at the scale of… continue reading

As part of this module’s examination of mobile architectures and spatial mobilities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this lecture investigates mobile architectures in relation to war in the history of the twentieth century. The lecture offers a study of constructions of global activity and the aesthetics and politics of the built environment within or in response to armed conflict, such as: the design and construction of fortifications or camouflage at the scale of…

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Lectures will emphasize the role played by patron-kings and their political interests in Hindu temple building in India’s Early Medieval period (ca. 550 to 1200). This is a signiacant aspect of my larger study on the Early Chalukya architectural tradition and is important for any general survey of Hindu temple architecture in India. The arst lecture will explain the critical position of Early Chalukya architecture within the developmental trajectory of the Southern (Dravi… continue reading

Lecture Abstract: This lecture is concerned with the development of Hindu temple architecture in South India and the Deccan region of southern India, from the period of initial experimentation with rock-cut temples in the early sixth century through to the emergence of a mature and fully articulated Deccani temple style that its established by the late eighth to ninth centuries. It begins by explaining the basic forms and components of the typical Hindu temple and their f…

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In looking at the architecture of the Early Chalukya dynasty, in particular the Virupaksha temple (733-744), it becomes clear that temple-building had become a necessary component of Hindu kingship. Temple building made visible the efficacy and scope of kingship—recalling and reinforcing the king’s power as well as his authority to rule. As temples became necessary to kingship, temples constructed of permanent materials were being built in larger and larger numbers and, eve…

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Entitled as the Peripheries of Contact - Beyond Geographies and Historical Flatland, this course examines the dynamic peripheries of a cultural region (area) - a global region loosely defined not only by its ethno-linguistic character, but more importantly, by its inherently intertwined environment and culture. Given that cultural regions have adjoined each other, often connecting (and sharing) the same periphery (or peripheries), these cultural regions are also viewed as th… continue reading

This first lecture introduces the broad theme of Peripheries of Contact - Beyond Geographies and Historical Flatland, questioning how this theme be conceptually examined. It proposes four ways to visualize cultural histories, in particular the histories of architectural and urban 'making and un-making': - As an overarching concept of Periphery (versus the center) - a new way of looking at history - The Periphery 'condition' as akin to a thick ‘cultural zone’ or limi…

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In looking at the architecture of the Persianate world with respect to its peripheries, this lecture starts by defining the term 'Persianate', and the complex cultural context of what actually comprised the Persianate world? Why could this 'condition' be better described as'a world of many Worlds?' What were the geographical boundaries of this land that effectively comprised of not only multiple ethnicities and people resident, but scores other transient and nomadic? Un…

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This second lecture on the Persianate World introduces four space-time moments that were critical to the intertwined histories of this region. On this particular front, the arrival of Islam as a new religion in this land was perhaps as important as the inter-mixing of nomadic and sedentary cultures. Within the Persianate world, the arrival of Islam is followed by transition and change, and later its deep assimilation within local beliefs. Meanwhile, the cultural inter-mi…

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The first Slavic lecture introduces the origins, name, geographies and the versatility of the historic Slavs. It discusses how in Western historiography the Slavs are traditionally presented as peripheral to the development of the Western Europe. In response, this lecture shifts the perspective to examine how that Slavs’ peripheral geographic and cultural location enabled them to develop as a central connective link between different cultural regions, variable lifestyles…

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The second Slavic lecture proceeds to illustrate the architectural consequences of the complex center-periphery relationships throughout pre-modern and early modern periods in Slavic history. The four cultural moments are accompanied by multiple examples of construction in different Rus’ principalities, often in seeming reaction towards external threats and/or potential invasions. How these inventive idioms actually become inherited traits of architecture across generations …

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The first lecture on the Indian Subcontinent discusses it as a realm of isolated centers and ‘thick’ peripheries, controlled by its specific geographies. It illustrates how much of Indian medieval history remains replete with the contesting control of these centers and the geographical features that ‘contain’ these centers. On these lines, no longer does a linguistic and/or political assessment suffice to explain the idea of the subcontinent as a cultural region. Could t…

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The second lecture on the Indian Subcontinent examines the four space-time moments that serve to frame the histories of region's thick and mercurial peripheries, particularly in the northwest and north, often conjoining with aspects of geography and topography to produce unique conditions. India's 'landed' peripheries appear to have behaved rather differently versus its hydro edges - an observation that accounts for the pronounced 'incoming' interactions from mountainous van…

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This lecture suggests how Nomadic Eurasia must be viewed as Spatial interregnum or Cultural Matrix, versus as a conventional region. Besides its unbroken geographies, alongside continuous ‘land’ connections and movement ‘corridors’ connected a ‘matrix’ of influence, it was also a conspicuous and transforming, trans-spatial social network of changing nodes, versus fixed and physically defined centers. It was this confederation of tribal solidarities versus landed empire/s and…

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his lecture continues stories from the Nomadic Steppe, in particular describing the four space- time moments that served as the critical disruptions with this cultural region. All of these moments were catalyzed by the mass movements of populations across this 'unbroken' land(ed) terrain, stretching substantially east-west and north-south. That nomads—often viewed as peoples with no permanent artifacts and iconographic imageries—were able to 'carry' and 'transfer' cultural …

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The concluding lecture presents how the four cultural regions were part of a world system that effectively inter-connected distant regions, often encompassing ’landed’ and/or ‘hydro’ connections. By the thirteenth century, these inter-connected regions included substantially large areas—inherently removed from each other, but almost always related via ‘accessible’ networks of trade and exchange, which began at the peripheries and displayed relevance as these elements of i…

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This three-part lecture covers the history and context of Petra, a site in Jordan. It was one of several sites that were created by the Nabateans, who came to dominate the area of west Jordan and the Sinai between the 3rd century BCE and the 4rd century CE. Originally a nomadic Arabian tribe, they settled into the region to control and stabilize the trade routes between Africa and India to the south and the Hellenized and Roman world to the north. They managed to control the… continue reading

These lectures cover the history and context of Petra, a site in Jordan. It was one of several sites that were created by the Nabateans, who came to dominate the area of west Jordan and the Sinai between the the 3rd century BCE and the 4rd century CE. Originally a nomadic Arabian tribe, they settled into the region to control and stabilize the trade routes between Africa and India to the south and the Hellenized and Roman world to the north. The managed to control land in …

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These lectures cover the history and context of Petra, a site in Jordan. It was one of several sites that were created by the Nabateans, who came to dominate the area of west Jordan and the Sinai between the the 3rd century BCE and the 4rd century CE. Originally a nomadic Arabian tribe, they settled into the region to control and stabilize the trade routes between Africa and India to the south and the Hellenized and Roman world to the north. The managed to control land in …

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These lectures cover the history and context of Petra, a site in Jordan. It was one of several sites that were created by the Nabateans, who came to dominate the area of west Jordan and the Sinai between the the 3rd century BCE and the 4rd century CE. Originally a nomadic Arabian tribe, they settled into the region to control and stabilize the trade routes between Africa and India to the south and the Hellenized and Roman world to the north. The managed to control land in …

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Affordable housing is a pressing need across the world, yet its production is far from sufficient to meet the demand. During the interwar and postwar years, social housing was imagined as a political project, the lack of which is one of the main reasons behind the fragmented policy making and the widespread failure in countering the problem of housing shortage today, more so in the so-called “developing countries” and the regions wrought with conflict, war, and displacement.… continue reading

From its establishment in 1923 until WWII, Turkey’s residential culture was shaped by policies implemented by reformist early republican governments which adopted a western style modernization program. The urban development side of this program was executed by architects and city planners who emigrated to Turkey from German speaking countries as well as by European-trained Turkish architects. Housing played an important role in the making of the new capital, Ankara, where th…

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Beginning from the late 1950s, the architectural practice in Turkey began to reflect the latest trends of the “International Style” and policies of the welfare state became more pronounced, advancing the central government’s role in the production of housing. With the use of the Marshall Aid Program, American specialists were invited to the country to prepare reports for low-cost housing developments. On the other side of the Cold War aisle was Soviet Russia, which played a …

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Earth is 70 percent water, but only 2.5 percent of this superabundant liquid is fresh. And, two-thirds of this minuscule amount of fresh water is inaccessible— locked away in ice caps, glaciers, and rocky underground aquifers. Only a tiny fraction of Earth’s potable water is readily available to humans. Even though this hydro-ecological view of the planet is a modern one, it should, nonetheless, paint a broader historical picture of how both access to and management of water… continue reading

This lecture module examines the role of two rivers—the Euphrates and the Tigris—in shaping both the Mesopotamian perceptions of water and hydraulic infrastructures that made Mesopotamia a thriving river-valley civilization. Rising in Turkey/Armenia, the Euphrates and the Tigris flew southward through a harsh desert environment for 2,430 km and 1,850 km, respectively. On entry to modern-day Iraq, the two rivers form a Jezira, or “island,” between them. The rivers unite at Al…

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This lecture examines how the Nile laid the sociocultural, political, and economic foundations of the Egyptian civilization. The ancient Egyptians didn’t know the source of the Nile River. They thought that this “mysterious” river came to the earth from heaven. For them, it was a deific force of the universe, “the Great River,” itr-âa, or “the Sea,” iumâ. They called it Hapi, a god in human form. As recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus, the Egyptian priests considered…

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The shift from a subsistence economy based on hunting and gathering to one based on food production by cultivating plants and domesticating animals and water is a watershed in human history. The shift to an agriculture-based economy, and the complex systems of water management that it warranted, transpired only in a few independent centers around the world. One such center was Peru, where advanced settlements and agro-pastoral activities flourished as early as 5000 BCE. Smal…

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The Indus Valley civilization (also known as the Harappan civilization or Indus-Saraswati civilization) was virtually unknown until 1921, when excavations in the Indian Subcontinent revealed the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Archaeology demonstrates that these cities were highly urbanized, served by sophisticated water-management infrastructures. With contested provenance, this “mysterious” civilization reached a mature urban phase around 2500 BCE and thrived for a tho…

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This lecture module explores different philosophical and engineering approaches to early Chinese water management systems and how they related to various political contexts and dynastic rules. By taking this course, students are expected to learn how “water politics” informed and shaped the early Chinese civilization. The module begins with the Xia Dynasty (2100–1600 BCE) and its legendary founder Yu the Great’s “Taoist approach” to river management and concludes with the…

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Focusing on Varanasi, the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage city on the bank of the Ganges, this lecture module demonstrates how a particular land-water confluence creates a sacrosanct urban center. Varanasi’s urban experience is marked by an elaborate system of ghats (steps leading to the river) that serve as “temples” dedicated to the sacred water of the Ganges. Hindus come to Varanasi to worship the Ganges water, perform funeral rites, and attain moksha or nirvana. The flowing…

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This lecture module examines how the Aegean world’s “islandscape” and hot and semiarid Mediterranean climate warranted architecture and city design driven by strategic water management systems. In many ways, hydraulic engineering in Greek mainland and islands were different than those in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations predominantly relied on the exploitation of the discharge of large rivers (i.e., Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile). Although Mesopot…

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This lecture module explains how “supplying water, displaying hygiene, and extending authority” became intertwined narratives in the administrative bureaucracy of the Roman Empire. In the late first century CE, Rome’s water commissioner Sextus Julius Frontinus proudly wrote in his water-related treatise, De aquaeductu urbis Romae: "Just compare with the vast monuments of this vital aqueduct network those useless Pyramids, or the good-for-nothing tourist attractions of the Gr…

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This lecture modules examines how the strategic and economic rise of the Nabataean city of Petra—located at the crucial intersection of trade routes, connecting the Mediterranean world, Arabia, Africa, and the Far East—also provided the impetus to develop sophisticated hydraulic systems to sustain a burgeoning urban population and various water needs. Steadily rising since 300 BCE as a nomadic settlement, Petra came under the Roman fold in 106 CE and continued on as an impor…

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This lecture module focuses on how the water-fragile civilization of Islam adapted to the harsh desert environments of Arabia, the Mesopotamian region, and North Africa, and to different geographic conditions of Andalucía, Spain. Islam’s theological framing of water has been conditioned by the fact this faith emerged in the water-scarce desert of Arabia. Most of the year it is hot and dry, with rainfall generally concentrated in brief periods during short winters. Furthermor…

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Southeast Asia is unique in the world because of the intersection of environmental, geologically and geographic realities. As a tropical environment, it supplied cinnamon, scented woods, bird’s nest and a vast array of other luxury, forest goods. Geologically, it possessed gold, gems and diamonds and geographically, located between Indian and China, it could supply these luxury goods to eager markets. The people who lived there were, in one way or another, forest-based animi… continue reading

This lecture introduces the general principles of the process known as Indianization, which begins more or less around 200 CE and continues for the next centuries as palace elites establish themselves across southeast Asia. The lecture points to the extraordinary commodity wealth in the tropics, that that could NOT be found in India or China but that the Indian and Chinese elites wanted, such as gems, gold, diamonds, pearls, incense, dried barks and bird’s nests. These were …

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This lecture introduces Buddhism in general, then follows it to Sri Lanka where it became a state religion in the 3rd century BCE. While Buddhism began to disappear in India, it flourished in Sri Lanka where its new elites created Anuradhapura into a major Buddhist ritual center. The new India-derived elites were drawn to Sri Lanka for obvious reasons. It was rich in pearls and rubies, that were mined in forest streams - basically a place of easy wealth. These luxury goods p…

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This lecture exposes the student an issue important to the SE Asia worldview, Animism. More or less ignored in the literature or treated as ‘Folk Religion,’ a more accurate portrayal would show that when Buddhism – and Hinduism as well - came to southeast Asia, it stepped into a forest-village world that was heavily connected to ancient traditions of animism. Both religions had to adjust and accommodate. In India, Animism had already morphed in Hinduism, even though there a…

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This lecture looks at the great architectural accomplishments of the Medang or Mataram Kingdom – later the Srivijayan Empire. They became fabulously wealthy based on trade along the Malacca Straits. To attract and accommodate both Buddhist and Hindu devotees they built a host of temples for both religions. They also created a unique system of intensifying the sacredness of the landscape by the introduction of small free-standing temples known as the Candy. I discuss their r…

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This lecture discusses the design features and innovations of Prambanan and Sewu both of these very complex buildings from a theological and functional point of view. Both are further examples of the thematics of the mandala which is blended with the imaginary of a holy mountain. Both also have complex theological meanings that even today are not fully understood. The lecture also discusses what is now missing in much of the experiences of these places, the dance ceremoniali…

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This lecture starts with a look at the larger role of SE Asia in the world economy. The drying out of Inner Asia and its depopulation meant the end of the Silk Route tradition. The energy moved to the south, to India and thus to SE Asia. This was one of the main contributing factors for while SE Asia prospered so much between 400 and 1200, but in particular after the 9th century. This lecture introduces the Khmer and their capital Angkor. It was a bold experiment in hydro-en…

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This lecture is Part 2 of the Angkor story. It focuses first on the economic positioning of the Angkor, a story that is rarely told. The problem for Angkor was that it was founded in a forest, not along the shore as most other SE Asian Palace economies. The problem was how to get their rice to market. Their purpose was to produce a rice surplus economy. But the problem they were not close to the trade routes. To their advantage was the fact that the Chinese were in trouble a…

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This lecture helps round out the general story of prosperity that marked southeast Asia between 800 and about 1250. The lecture looks at the Champa and Pagan, the two cultures that flanked the Khmer. All of them were hugely successful in the regional trade business. Champa were not major rice growers. Their wealth came from coastal luxury trade to China. The same was true for Pagan, except that they controlled the over-land route to Dali and then to China. Both of these cul…

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This lecture covers the longhouse cultures of Borneo. Unlike the palace-based elites who dominated the cross India-China trade in SE Asia, and which we have discussed in earlier lectures, Borneo never developed a palace-based system. Instead traders stayed on the shore to develop shore-based trading stations. They traded with inland communities – the longhouse cultures – who dominated the forests. Much of the goods that the shore communities wanted came from the forest, and …

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In contrast with earlier Buddhafications, Islamization in Southeast Asia was a more or less continuous and gradual process: -7th Century Muslims traveled to and from China via port towns of mainland and island Southeast Asia eventually establishing Muslim merchant enclaves in the port cities of the region. -With the fall of Hindu-Buddhist Srivijaya (Sumatra, 13th c.) and Majapahit (Java, 15th c.) Sufi teachers converted rulers followed later by gradual conversions of subje…

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“Scale” may appear at first glance to be a purely heuristic device of pedagogy, deployed to cut across certain geographic and cultural boundaries which might otherwise pose obstacles to tracing a global architectural history. However, the intention of this course, “Scales of Modernity,” is to demonstrate that considerations of scale were crucial to twentieth-century efforts to address discourses of nationalism and globalism within the practice of architecture. This is beca… continue reading

During the period of Brazil’s post-war, democratically elected leftist governments (1945-1964) initiated several architectural experiments. It was during an economic boom, during the Juscelino Kubitschek years (1956-61) that it was decided to finally move the capitol of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia. As was the case with the Soviets Brazilian architects hoped to bring about a new social condition through architecture, though in the case of Brasilia the task was very…

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In the twentieth century, architects approach house design as a problem of defining “basic human needs”, intended simultaneously to elevate the standard of living through certain technological amenities while, at the same time, reducing living to a standard, as best described by the term, Existenz minimum. This course module will compare how a standard of living and a conception of family and society were defined under the different political-economic frameworks of coloniali…

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In the twentieth century, the village—which had conventionally designated a rural conurbation serving the needs of peasants—increasingly became defined through three new conceptions: as an agricultural resource for the metropolis to be reorganized accordingly; as a preserve of “ethnicity” or “culture”; and as a preserve of “nature” to which urbanites could retreat. This course module will try to understand how different villagization schemes operated in relation to concomita…

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In the twentieth century, the village—which had conventionally designated a rural conurbation serving the needs of peasants—increasingly became defined through three new conceptions: as an agricultural resource for the metropolis to be reorganized accordingly; as a preserve of “ethnicity” or “culture”; and as a preserve of “nature” to which urbanites could retreat. This course module will try to understand how different villagization schemes operated in relation to concomita…

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Lectures 6-8: I. City The question of how to delimit “city” from the other scales addressed in this course hinges largely on how cities were conceived by architects and administrators as entities united through certain shared systems, often assuming a centripetal form. The centripetal form implies that beyond a certain distance from the center, settlement ceases to be the city and becomes instead a suburb. This series of case-studies presents different ways that cities wer…

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 6-8: I. City The question of how to delimit “city” from the other scales addressed in this course hinges largely on how cities were conceived by architects and administrators as entities united through certain shared systems, often assuming a centripetal form. The centripetal form implies that beyond a certain distance from the center, settlement ceases to be the city and becomes instead a suburb. This series of case-studies presents different ways that cities wer…

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Handout • Lecture Introduction • Questions and Assignments

Lectures 6-8: I. City The question of how to delimit “city” from the other scales addressed in this course hinges largely on how cities were conceived by architects and administrators as entities united through certain shared systems, often assuming a centripetal form. The centripetal form implies that beyond a certain distance from the center, settlement ceases to be the city and becomes instead a suburb. This series of case-studies presents different ways that cities wer…

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 9-11: I. Region This section examines the invention of regional planning techniques in the interwar period through their permutations up to the present day, asking why and how a concept of “region” developed as a new category of design. Employed variously to remake existing political authority, create new connections between rural, urban and national scales, and to permit the management of human geography in relation to climate, landscape and natural resources, …

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 9-11: I. Region This section examines the invention of regional planning techniques in the interwar period through their permutations up to the present day, asking why and how a concept of “region” developed as a new category of design. Employed variously to remake existing political authority, create new connections between rural, urban and national scales, and to permit the management of human geography in relation to climate, landscape and natural resources, …

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 9-11: I. Region This section examines the invention of regional planning techniques in the interwar period through their permutations up to the present day, asking why and how a concept of “region” developed as a new category of design. Employed variously to remake existing political authority, create new connections between rural, urban and national scales, and to permit the management of human geography in relation to climate, landscape and natural resources, …

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 12-14: I. Meta-city From the Greek root “meta”, meaning “beyond”, meta-cities comprise those components of a city that, while belonging to the extant city, somehow surpass or exceed its conceptual, infrastructural, spatial, or legal boundaries. This can occur in various ways: by means of legal exceptionalism (e.g., Special Economic Zones, often situated just beyond the city proper); or by surpassing the conventional spatial configurations of the city (e.g., by bui…

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Bibliography • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 12-14: I. Meta-city From the Greek root “meta”, meaning “beyond”, meta-cities comprise those components of a city that, while belonging to the extant city, somehow surpass or exceed its conceptual, infrastructural, spatial, or legal boundaries. This can occur in various ways: by means of legal exceptionalism (e.g., Special Economic Zones, often situated just beyond the city proper); or by surpassing the conventional spatial configurations of the city (e.g., by bui…

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Bibliography • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Lectures 12-14: I. Meta-city From the Greek root “meta”, meaning “beyond”, meta-cities comprise those components of a city that, while belonging to the extant city, somehow surpass or exceed its conceptual, infrastructural, spatial, or legal boundaries. This can occur in various ways: by means of legal exceptionalism (e.g., Special Economic Zones, often situated just beyond the city proper); or by surpassing the conventional spatial configurations of the city (e.g., by bui…

supporting documents: • Lecture Notes • Questions and Assignments • Bibliography • Handout • Lecture Introduction

Implicitly semiotic in nature, the “iconic” building begs the question of what it signifies as icon, i.e., as a symbol or signifier of sorts. We know that cities (and the nations they belong to) have commissioned “icons” in an effort to project themselves as—to use another undefined term—“world-class cities”. So, the icon signifies the affluence and technological prestige of the nation it is situated within. However, we must ask firstly how they signify and what functions th…

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Unlike the European trajectory in architecture, in which walls and roofs separate interior spaces from the outside world, ancient Mesoamerican architecture primarily defined open-air spaces. Many Mesoamerican buildings had no “rooms” – or at least had very small rooms relative to their mass. Instead of congregating in large halls, people gathered in plazas, some vast and others more intimate, to conduct trade, to participate in ritual, and to engage in civic life. Between… continue reading

This lecture introduces Mesoamerica, one of the six places in the world in which “civilization” developed independently of outside contact. It was home to North America’s towering pyramids and to the great civilizations of the Aztec, Maya, and other remarkable culture groups. Because life in Mesoamerica was closely linked to the cultivation of maize (corn), the geographical extent of this cultural area corresponds to the region in which farmers could produce reliable harves…

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By 1700 BC, people in several regions of Mesoamerica were conducting major earth-shaping projects. By 1200, they were creating ceremonial and administrative centers, and carving basalt and jade into a variety of meaningful forms. This lecture looks at three such places: El Manatí, San Lorenzo and La Venta along the Gulf Coast. All existed hundreds of years before the advent of phonetic writing in Mesoamerica. However, the people of this era did develop a trans-regional sys…

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One of the unique features of Mesoamerica was its overlapping calendar systems. To grasp the essence of Mesoamerican thought, one must have a decent sense of the calendar. It regulated everything – from a person’s name and fate, to the unfolding of ritual processions, to the scale of buildings and design of cities. Learning the Mesoamerican calendar can be challenging for several reasons. First, it consisted of multiple cycles. Second, not all of these were related to th…

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Around 100 BC, still early in Mesoamerica’s history, people in the highland Basin of Mexico began to build the largest urban center in the Americas, called Teotihuacan. Not only did it eventually have a population of over 130,000, but it became a cosmopolitan center with enclaves of people from other cultural regions. Many residents lived in comfortable apartment compounds decorated with mural paintings. However, none of this explains why the scale of the city’s central core…

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The Maya created one of the world’s great civilizations. Deep in the rainforest, they founded over one hundred kingdoms, where writing, the arts, mathematics, astronomy, music, and of course, architecture flourished. They learned to take advantage of a challenging environment and built their cities without beasts of burden, metal tools, or the wheel. Tikal was perhaps the most enduring of Maya kingdoms. It was founded in the Pre-Classic era, around 600 BC, and emerged …

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Palenque, whose ancient names were Lakam-ha “Big Waters” and Baak, “Kingdom of Bone,“ was a small kingdom that has had a huge impact on modern understandings of the ancient Maya. Not only is it often referred to as an “architectural jewel” due to the elegant proportions of its structures and its innovative roofing and vaulting systems, but its hieroglyphic texts and bas-relief sculpture reveal much about ancient Maya history, ritual, and cosmology. Moreover, nowhere else is…

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Today we focus on two relatively contemporaneous Epi-Classic cities, El Tajín in Central Veracruz and Chichén Itzá, a Maya site. “Epi” means “after.” The Epi-Classic, which dates from 650 to about 1000 AD is after the fall of Teotihuacan. After 800, the Classic Maya cities in the central lowlands also experienced a relatively swift collapse. In this era, numerous new cities emerged or came into prominence, often borrowing from Teotihuacan and the Maya their symbols of gra…

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Tenochtitlan is important for many reasons. In 1519, when the Spanish under Hernán Cortés invaded, it was the largest city of the New World and it grew to its impressive size of around 250,000 in less than 200 years. According to legend, a long period of wandering and struggle had led the Mexica, a group of Nahuatl speakers who had left their homeland, Aztlan, possibly 1000 years earlier, to the highland basin of Central Mexico. This was between the volcanoes Popocatepetl, I…

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“Sites and Systems of Global Colonialism” is a survey course that introduces students to building cultures, landscapes and urbanisms in an already globally connected world from the colonial era through 1900. The course examines multiple overlapping systems by which the practices of human cultures have come to be interconnected around the world over time. It is a history of the world through architectural evidence, and a history of architecture through a global perspective. … continue reading

Evangelical colonialisms are characterized by combining projects of religious conversion with the use of force to impose dominant trade relations. While religion played a more or less significant role in European moral justification for imposing control over the peoples, cultures and societies of the rest of the world, the evangelizing mission of the Catholic powers of the Iberian Peninsula, now known as Portugal and Spain, were so deeply integrated with the mechanisms of co…

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The site for this lecture is the Presidential Palace, in Mexico City via Cordoba and Sevilla. This lecture will focus on the system of forced displacement using religious and urban architectures built over the remains of indigenous structures. The Spanish method of conversion and occupation requires that existing sites of power, be used as the foundations for new architectures of religion and political control. The Influence of mujedar architectures in New Spain will also be…

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The labor system of Encomienda was extended to the Viceroyalty of Peru using the physical forms and institutions of the Spanish Catholic Church and the Laws of the Indies. Similarities with the Inca tribute labor obligations smoothed the transition to the Spanish Encomienda implemented with particular violence in the extraction of silver at the mines of Potosí (Bolivia). As elsewhere, the Encomienda was part and parcel of the Spanish rulers’ obligation to baptize, educate, a…

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Over the course of several generations, the Spanish transformed the excellent port of Cartagena into one of the most effectively defended harbors in history. Through the fortifications of the port, town, fortified hill, and especially through a series of strategic choke-points between the port, inner harbor, outer harbor and the sea resulted in a deadly gauntlet of remarkable force despite the relatively small number of ships, cannon, and soldiers emplaced there. The great…

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From the 15th Century through the 19th Century the naval power and ocean-going trade routes determined who is the most powerful empire in the world. By the end 17th Century, the Portuguese and the Spanish had largely been crowded out of the Indian Ocean and Asia by the Dutch and the English, both of whom were already making forays into North America as well. In this module, we see how the representation of a country on a map of the world using a uniform color and a sharp bo…

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The United Provinces of the Netherlands was a loose confederation of seven semi-autonomous republican states (Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel, Gröningen, Gelderland and Friesland) that had won independence from Spain during the Eighty Years War (1568-1648). Dutch national policy was formulated by delegates from the seven provinces at the States-General in The Hague. The war between the Netherlands and Spain was advantageous to English merchants, who could trade in Spa…

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Calcutta as the English Capital of the Indian Ocean. There are two Systems of English Capitalist Power in India System 1Company Colonialism which in this lecture is defined by economic extractive power of East India Company and how reshapes the world through desire, addiction, wealth, violence and global war. System 2 is the deployment of Classicism as a means of Imperial Power, Christianity and Colonialism Calcutta demonstrates the Power of the East India Company in …

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During the 18th and 19th centuries England develops its colonial infrastructures to become the most successful colonizer in history operating out of its global headquarters, London. As in the case of Amsterdam, London’s prosperity was derived from extractive activities around the World. In 1688, Protestant Dutch Burgher Willem of Orange became William III of England. Under the Dutch-burgher-turned-King William III, England adapts rapidly to the Dutch system of commerce. Eng…

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The Triangle Trade system refers to the movement west across the Atlantic of forcibly extracted human beings for slaves who arrive in the Americas to produce raw goods gold, silver sugar, tobacco, timber, whale oil, and cotton for the Mercantile systems of Europe. Those goods are then sent to Europe where they are sold back to the colonies in the Americas and Africa as finished or luxury goods. This is known as mercantilism it is designed to keep the colonies subservient …

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Most histories of this period focus on the twin Revolutions in France and the United States. However, it was the Slave Revolution in what would become Haiti that changes the world in this period. This lecture explores the the architectures of the French Revolution and Empire through the island of S. Dominique (Haitian) and the Slave Revolution. It emphasizes the importance of of sugar, rum production, plantation slavery and the Louisiana Purchase as understood from the pers…

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For nearly two centuries, the price of cotton in Liverpool determined the fate of the most lucrative markets in the World. From the displacement of indigenous populations in the American South for cotton plantations, to the massive movement of West Africans to work those plantations. The theme of this lecture is that slavery and the desire for goods such as cotton, sugar, coffee, gold transforms the modern world. The economics of slavery is embedded in the form and creation …

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This site explores the impact of slavery through cotton and the railroad by examining and how the slave economy made through its control over cotton and rice. Savannah, with its famous plan and mythical utopian origins, uses slavery, cotton, rice, and architecture to grow from a small colonial outpost to a lynchpin in the global economy. Christianity, Classical architectures, the railroad and extractive violent capitalism were used justified inhumanity and cruelty over one …

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Much of what we know of Southwest Indigenous cultures was mistakenly informed by the assumption that the Anasazi were the ancestors of the Navajo. Kiva’s, pueblos and the reconstruction of heritage sites such as Mesa Verde have made their way into architectural history textbooks in error, based upon what is now known to be misinterpreted culture, language and ultimately architecture. This module will provide updated scholarship, images and architectural drawings to not only … continue reading

This six lecture module covers the regions of what are now the four corners of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and Colorado. However to call this the “southwest” is biased. This region only became part of the southwest of the United States in1848. From c. the late 15th Century to 1848 it was the northwestern periphery of New Spain. However for most of its history it is a cultural and trade continuum that in reaches from the San Juan river basin in the north and arguably stret…

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Early evidence of habitation in the Southwest was first discovered in large animal butchering sites (Clovis and Folsom) and cave site dating to around 13000 BCE. Later evidence finds similar sites throughout the Americas, some earlier. This lecture covers the transition from a cooler big game environment with large bands and assembly-line butchering, to a warming climate, smaller game and foraging. A new “toolkit” is developed with more grinding than hunting, as foraging…

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This lecture covers the Hohokam cultures who inhabited what is now southeast Arizona for thousands of years as well as the Sinagua of the Agua Fria and Verde Rivers in north-middle Arizona. “Southwest” vs Mesoamerican Continuum The “southwest” is a common practice in referring to this region. This is a relative term, based upon recent nationalism. Prior to the 1848 invasion of New Spain (Mexico) by the young United States, this was Spanish Territory. Prior to the arriva…

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This lecture covers the Ancestral Puebloans of Utah. The sites in what was once Bears Ears National Monument from Cedar Mesa to Comb Ridge to the what are known as Fremont People. Like others in the earlier lectures they left behind an extraordinary amount of art and architecture, within a much more difficult landscape then those to the east and the south.. The time period of 1050 to 1280 is the largest concentration on people in the region. The architecture demonstrates…

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This lecture is about hybrid cultures that appear in parallel to the Hohokam systems (lecture 2), Chacoan World (lecture 3 )and the Colorado Plateau (lectures 4-5). It also examines some of the key 13th – 15th century sites and systems that appear in the aftermath of the 13th century evacuation of the Colorado Plateau. Most of these sites are excluded from the history of this place in architecture. However, understanding them is crucial to understanding the legacy of n…

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This course approaches architecture as a form of knowledge like cinema, literature, or history. Except unlike these other mediums, it is both aesthetic, intellectual, spatial and material. It is both haptic and contemplative. Architecture defines who we are. It is a potent tool for the construction of gender identities, class, self and the other. It helps internalize religious beliefs, political ideologies, and all sorts of power relations. Just think of the organization… continue reading

Global architectural histories undermine the spurious mythologies of race, nationalism, and ethnicity often at the heart of political conflict. They illustrate architectural objects while locally manifested, are invariably impacted, manipulated, or redefined by global vectors such as technologies that travel across space and time. These technologies provide students with critical knowledge and skills to understand their built environment as situated within wider networks …

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This lecture focuses on how architecture and landscape have functioned in oral societies. For this we roam not the world but instead concentrate on different people of the Colorado Plateau in the Four Corners area in Western United States (at the intersection of the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona). Oral societies have created a different system of knowledge than literate societies; they do not see the nature-culture, and epistemic-technic divide at the h…

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This lecture presents some of the key ways in which early boats and ships have influenced architecture and organization of space starting some 3000 BCE. Boats and ships are the oldest and most enduring technology of globalization. They not only facilitated repeated attempts of people to spread out of Africa. They produced new type of urban centers, port cities / exchange hubs, trading centers, special building typologies like warehouses and shoreline factories designed espec…

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