Call for Papers
PICTURESQUE MODERNITIES. Architectural Regionalism as a Global Process
International conference of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe
in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University (Global Art History), the
German Centre of Art History in Paris, University of Poitiers
(CRIHAM/Department of Art History and Archaeology), the Centre André
Chastel (CNRS/University Paris-Sorbonne) and the Association d’Histoire
de l’Architecture (A.H.A).
Concept: Michael Falser (Heidelberg University)
In the last twenty years, architectural historiography approached
regionalism as a pan-European movement between 1890 and 1950 which, as
a flipside of the International Modern Movement with its rationalist
and cosmopolitan agenda, helped to reinforce regional identities
through the language of regionalist building styles. When European
nation states such as France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany etc.
entered a late-modern phase of political saturation and a stronger need
of cultural self-definition, architectural regionalism emerged as a
polymorphic set of artistic strategies: fostered either by centralist
regimes to stabilize the national project through a higher (however
controlled) valorisation of its peripheral elements, or by centrifugal
forces towards provincial independence. In France, for example, this
regionalist movement was particularly developed through a whole range
identity-building structures in neo-Basque, neo-Breton etc. styles, but
also in a kind of regionalist eclecticism for seaside architecture.
Latest projects to write a ‘global history of architecture’ or a canon
of ‘world architecture’ comprised of rather additive architectural
case-studies around the globe with an ordering system along geographic
and political entities (Europe or Non-Europe), but did not yet
transpose the above-mentioned scenario to the global arena: in
comparing the strategies of political and cultural stabilization,
negotiation and/or resistance through architectural regionalism, a
structural analogy of the centre-periphery model can also be detected
between the European metropole and its overseas colonies, resp. between
those colonies’ capitals and their own provinces. If ‘area studies’
identified similar regionalist policy changes from cultural
assimilation (direct transfer) to association (regional adaptation) for
European colonies in Asia and Africa during the same period
(1890-1950), then the emerging ‘neo-vernacular styles’ in the colonies
(such as the Style indochinois in French Indochina or the
‘neo-Mauresque’ style in French North Africa, the Indo-Saracenic Style
in British India, or the Indische Stijl in the Dutch East Indies etc.)
– can be read as Non-European variants of ‘regionalist styles’ in the
European nation states. This ‘trans-cultural’ approach frames the
diverse regionalist formations of architectural styles and forms as one
globally connected process.
Transnational approaches to set the different European colonial
contexts within the first half of the 20th century in relation to each
other can also help to conceptualise the recent inter-related effects
between globalisation and decentralisation (like in France) where the
notions of the global and the local are often enmeshed simultaneously
in contemporary architecture.
Conceptualizing Global Connectivity in Architectural History
Requested case studies can focus either on regionalist and
(neo-)vernacular architectural style formations within European nation
states or in European colonies. In order to conceptualize a
transcultural matrix of global connectivity between the different forms
of regionalist expressions beyond the strict divide of West or
Non-West, Europe or Non-Europe, metropole or colony, colonizer or
colonized, the different presentations will be set in direct relation
to each other (e.g. France vs. French Indochina etc.). To facilitate
the discussion of structural analogies and connections across those
divides, the presentations should address the following questions on
agency and process beyond a mere stylistic analysis:
- In which centre-periphery constellation was the particular
regionalist project embedded?
- Which individual actors (architects, engineers, ethnographers,
politicians) and institutions participated (or not) in the project?
- To which kind of regional/vernacular expressions and traditions was
referred to, and how were those collected, valorised, hybridized or
(re)invented, and finally applied?
- Did the different projects, institutional agencies and individual
agents (cultural brokers) cross the lines between the divides of the
national vs. regional, metropole vs. colony etc.?
- Where there any platforms of knowledge exchange involved across those
divides (scientific journals, national/colonial congresses, exhibitions
and fairs, individual networks etc.?
The international conference in French, English and German will take
place from 30 November to 2 December 2016 at the German Center for Art
History in Paris. It is a collaborative exercise between the Cluster of
Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context – The Dynamics of
Transculturality’ at Heidelberg University (and its project
“Picturesque Modernities”, directed by Michael Falser/Global Art
History), the German Centre of Art History in Paris (directed by Thomas
Kirchner), the University of Poitiers (Centre de recherche
interdisciplinaire en histoire, histoire de l’art et
musicologie/CRIHAM, with its project “Corpus numérique du patrimoine
architectural en région”, directed by Nabila Oulebsir), the Centre
André Chastel (CNRS/University Paris-Sorbonne, directed by Alexandre
Gady) and the Association d’Histoire de l’Architecture (directed by
Jean-Baptiste Minnaert/University Paris-Sorbonne).
This conference is the second event after the International Conference
“Picturesque Eye. Framing Regionalist Art Forms in Late Empires
(1900-1950)” which took place in Vienna/Austria in December 2015
After this 1,5-day conference and half-day workshop for PhD-candidates
is planned. Proposals for this workshop are also welcome.
Applicants are asked to send a proposal (max. 300 words, one to two
illustrations) to firstname.lastname@example.org, by the deadline
of 15 August 2016. Please include the title of the contribution, an
abstract and a short bio-sketch of the speaker with affiliation and
contact details. The decision about the selection of contributions will
be announced in September 2016.