SAH 2024 Annual International Conference


Old Town

Call for Papers


Society of Architectural Historians
2024 Annual International Conference
April 17–21 in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Download the CFP

Conference Chair: Carla Yanni, SAH 1st Vice President, Rutgers University
Associate Chair: Mohammad Gharipour, SAH 2nd Vice President, University of Maryland

The Society of Architectural Historians is now accepting abstracts for its 77th Annual International Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 17–21, 2024. Please submit an abstract no later than 11:59 p.m. CDT on June 6, 2023, to one of the 34 thematic sessions, the Graduate Student Lightning Talks or the Open Sessions for the Albuquerque conference. SAH encourages submissions from architectural, landscape, and urban historians; museum curators; preservationists; independent scholars; architects; scholars in related fields; and members of SAH chapters, Affiliate Groups, and partner organizations.

Thematic sessions and Graduate Student Lightning Talks (GSLT) are listed below. The session selection committee reviewed the submitted proposals and composed a program that represents a range of time periods and a wide regional distribution. If your research topic is not a good fit for one of the thematic sessions, please submit your abstract to the Open Sessions. Please note that those submitting papers for the Graduate Student Lightning Talks must be graduate students at the time the talk is being delivered (April 17– 21, 2024). Instructions and deadlines for submitting to thematic sessions, GSLT, and Open Sessions are the same.


Submission Guidelines:

  1. Confirmed 2024 session chairs are not eligible to submit to the Call for Papers.
  2. Abstracts must be under 300 words.
  3. The title cannot exceed 65 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
  4. Abstracts and titles must follow the Chicago Manual of Style.
  5. Only one abstract per conference by an author or co-author may be submitted.
  6. A maximum of three (3) authors per abstract will be accepted. 
  7. Please attach a two-page CV in PDF format.

Abstracts are to be submitted online using the link below. 


Abstracts should define the subject and summarize the argument to be presented in the proposed paper. The content of that paper should be the product of well-documented original research that is primarily analytical and interpretive, rather than descriptive in nature. Papers cannot have been previously published or presented in public except to a small, local audience (under 100 people). All abstracts will be held in confidence during the review and selection process, and only the session chair and conference chair will have access to them. 

All session chairs have the prerogative to recommend changes to the abstract to ensure it addresses the session theme, and to suggest editorial revisions to a paper in order to make it satisfy session guidelines. It is the responsibility of the session chairs to inform speakers of those guidelines, as well as of the general expectations for participation in the session and the annual conference. Session chairs reserve the right to withhold a paper from the program if the author has not complied with those guidelines.

Please Note: Each speaker and session chair is expected to fund their own travel and expenses to Albuquerque, New Mexico. SAH has a limited number of conference fellowships for which speakers and session chairs may apply. However, SAH’s funding is not sufficient to support the expenses of all speakers and session chairs. Speakers and session chairs must register and establish membership in SAH for the 2024 conference by September 30, 2023, and are required to pay the non-refundable conference registration fee as a show of their commitment.


Key Dates

June 6, 2023Abstract submission deadline
August 2, 2023Session chairs complete notification to all persons who submitted abstracts regarding status of submission. 
August 15, 2023Session chair and speaker registration opens
August 15, 2023Annual Conference Fellowship applications open
September 30, 2023Deadline for speaker and session chair registration (non-refundable) and membership in SAH
September 30, 2023Deadline for conference fellowship applications
January 9, 2024Early registration opens and you may now add events to your existing registration and/or sign up for tours via Eventbrite
January 12, 2024Speakers submit complete drafts of papers to session chairs
February 9, 2024Session chairs return papers with comments to speakers
March 8, 2024Speakers complete any revisions and distribute copies of their paper to the session chair and the other session speakers
April 17–21, 2024SAH 2024 Annual International Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Convention Center



List of Paper Sessions

Many historians have considered the historical evolution of cities in the Roman Empire from antiquity into the early Middle Ages. In particular, scholars have analyzed the extent to which medieval builders continued or did not continue classical forms and construction in architecture. The transformation and re-use of most building types and functions (civic and religious) from classical antiquity has been studied by historians and archeologists. There has been limited scholarship about stadia and gymnasia, in spite of the importance of these building types in Greece and the Eastern Roman provinces. Numbering among the major monuments of Graeco-Roman cities and acting as the sites of vital communal life, these structures underwent irrevocable changes in the early Middle Ages. Unlike entertainment buildings, such as theaters or amphitheaters, stadia and gymnasia were only exceptionally evaluated for adaptation in modern times.

Given that they no longer served their original purposes at the end of antiquity, athletic complexes were abandoned and neglected, and some were dismantled for their building materials. Others were assigned new functions. In Asia Minor, among other places, there are numerous examples of re-use: of stadia partially converted into amphitheaters (going with the change of taste in games), such as the ones at Aphrodisias, Ephesus, and Perge, or of churches and other structures built over them (e.g. Aezani and Sagalassus). Gymnasia, on the other hand, were usually reestablished as bath-gymnasia in Asia Minor, though their palaestra colonnades were demolished; they might also share the fates of stadia.

This session will explore the interventions and changes the athletic structures witnessed through Late Antiquity and beyond. Why did some of them survive and endure, when others were quarried for their marble? Cases and approaches across - but not limited to - the territories of the Roman and Eastern Roman Empires where the long-lasting tradition of Greek athletics continued (e.g. Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, the Balkans, Middle East and the Levant) are the most relevant to our theme. Focusing as we are on the afterlives of athletic structures, we welcome papers dealing with processes of historical preservation in their survival through adaptation into modern times.

Session Co-Chairs: Ufuk Serin, Middle East Technical University; and Başak Kalfa Ataklı, Çankaya University

Patterns of indigenous land use, colonial histories, intra- and inter-national conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries, and border-crossing kinship ties and economies have long shaped the architecture and landscapes of the U.S.-Mexico border region. While there are excellent local histories of the area, both Mexican and U.S. scholars working in academic centers in their countries have devoted relatively little attention to its architecture, especially its twentieth-century buildings. This panel will examine architectural modernism in the states on both sides of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo and the modern U.S.-Mexico political border to better understand how architecture here differed (or didn’t) from that in distant metropolitan centers and what (if anything) linked the architecture of different parts of the borderlands. It will ask to what extent architects and architectural patrons embraced or participated in core national or international narratives and debates within architectural modernism.

Prospective panelists are particularly encouraged to submit papers on rural examples, those dealing with the persistence of vernacular and indigenous building techniques and types, and works designed by Mexican-American architects. Papers should address architecture created between 1848, when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the modern border, and 2001, the year that marked the beginning of tighter border control by the U.S. government. The panel will consider whether architectural historians might profitably understand the borderlands as a distinct locus within a wider geography of modern architecture or whether architectural histories of this region might productively problematize historiographic frameworks constructed along national boundaries.

Session Chair: Kathryn O’Rourke, Trinity University

This session explores the ways in which spatial thinkers engaged with the contested grounds of architectures of development in the aftermath of African independences.

Amílcar Cabral (“The Role of Culture in the Struggle for Independence,” Trans. Michel Vale., 1977–78,  French original, “Le rôle de la culture dans la lutte pour l’indépendance,” in A. Cabral, Unité et lutte, l'arme de la théorie, 1973) described the liberation struggles in Africa as “acts of culture,” but he also called them  “factor[s] of culture” [that]  thrived on concrete knowledge of “local realities, particularly cultural realities.” Independence movements intersected with global geopolitics; many countries became one-party states, rhetorically committed to (self-styled) Marxism-Leninism. Newly formed Socialist governments sought to modernize quickly and educate their populations, which required radical architectural and political solutions.

These modernization strategies included sending young people to study engineering and architecture in socialist countries, including Cuba and the USSR. On Isla de la Juventud—the second-biggest island in the Cuban archipelago—dozens of international schools were built as part of Cuba's aid program to Africa. In these buildings of standardized construction and modernist design, Cuban and African teachers balanced an academic curriculum (including Marxist theory) with agricultural labor on the vast plantations across the island. Thousands of boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 16 attended these schools from the 1970s to the 1990s. During this period, especially from countries considered to be political allies, hundreds of ideologically committed aid workers arrived in Africa. Transnational processes of architectural exchange produced a wide range of responses and outcomes.

We invite contributions that discuss built, unrealized, or theoretical projects for educational buildings under the program of aid to the socialist revolutions in Africa, both inside and outside Africa. (The Cuban architectural experiment mentioned above is just one such example.) Papers may discuss, for example, how political values are expressed through spatial organization and construction technologies. We welcome papers that address such buildings as places for alternative development. How does architecture allow us to tell forgotten stories of socialist Africa?

Session Chair: Lisandra Franco de Mendonça, Lab2PT, University of Minho

Architecture fails to acknowledge the existence of trans bodies. Public spaces are mostly hostile environments for gender-nonconforming individuals, and designers seldom acknowledge the voices of trans people. This exclusion is paralleled in architectural theory. While there is rich scholarship on gender and architecture, the writings of feminist theorists dominate the field. When the category of LGBTQ+ arises, it tends to be used as a stand-in for gay or lesbian (sexual orientation), and the emphasis is rarely on trans or non-binary experiences (gender identity). Most importantly, the texts that form the canon of gender and architecture operate, to a large degree, on an essentialized definition of gender and as such exclude even the mere possibility of trans bodies. In Diana Agrest’s Architecture from Without, one of the author’s most powerful examples of the repression of women comes from Filarete’s treatise in which he compares the (male) architect designing a building to being pregnant and eventually delivering an edifice. Agrest’s identification of this example as evidence of male appropriation of distinctly feminine qualities (based on anatomy) is also a gesture that excludes the existence of trans bodies. This essentialist gesture is emblematic of one strain of feminist theory that assumes a biological definition of gender and rarely (if at all) defines what it means to be a woman or man.

How can we not only include trans bodies in architectural discourse but also rethink the discipline of architecture from the perspective of trans experiences? How do we reassess the canon of literature on architecture and gender and how do we teach it to acknowledge the presence of trans bodies? The session would welcome both contemporary and historical case studies that provide insights on what trans spaces can be and how they can inform design practice as well as presentations mapping out the possibility for architecture theories centered on trans experiences.

Session Chair: Lidia Klein, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

From Santa Fe (New Mexico) to Manila to Buenos Aires, the legal imprint of Spanish colonialism is ever-present in the built environment. The colonization of Al-Andalus, the Philippines, and the Spanish American territories are part of the same architectural and urban tradition. Nuanced normative and bureaucratized discussions informed Spanish colonial cities and their grid plans, and even ways of contestation were mediated by Spanish colonial administrators. Through them, builders, architects, designers, and residents responded to—and resisted—the power structures inherent in the colonial framework.

This session explores the inference of law and administration in colonial architecture, urban planning, and environmental control in the early modern Spanish world. Our approach examines the legal and urban dimensions of the built landscape, exploring colonial urban histories based on the notarial nature of records, instructions, correspondence, and claims produced by both colonizers and colonized agents.

We are particularly interested in proposals that analyze how law defined the settlement and management of towns across the Spanish colonial spectrum in a long historiographical arc, roughly spanning the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. We welcome papers focusing on legal codes, building codes, and ordinances that sought to impose order on gendered and racialized bodies. We envision a session that includes papers on individual buildings, plazas, public spaces, and more.

Session Co-Chairs: Juan Luis Burke, University of Maryland, College Park, and Manuel 'Saga' Sánchez García, GI HUM813 - Universidad de Granada

Growing recognition of the climate crisis has spurred architects to become increasingly engaged with the design of agricultural structures and infrastructures that address issues of expansion, pollution, energy, animal welfare, and labor conditions, among other concerns related to farming practices and the environment. Some of these architectures of agriculture, such as “pinkhouses” and vertical pig farms, are the results of the rethinking of the future of food. Others, like biomass energy plants, seed banks, cannabis farms for hempcrete, and mobile chicken coops for fertilizer distribution, serve purposes beyond the production, storage, processing, and consumption of food. Yet, even before humanity acknowledged threats of ecological catastrophe, the architectures, infrastructures, and landscapes of agriculture had often embodied and conveyed wider, more expansive cultural values and political ambitions. To cite just a few examples: the Roman horrea (large warehouses for grain storage) symbolized the political power of the emperor; the farming village and fields of the Peach Blossom Spring fable served as a utopian critique of empire and urbanism in Six Dynasties China; the rationalization of national slaughterhouses in nineteenth-century Buenos Aires reflected the convergence of animal and human eugenics; and during the Cold War, grain silos in India became a tool of American diplomacy.

This session invites proposals for papers that critically engage with the architectures, infrastructures, and landscapes of agriculture across multiple spatial scales and different temporal and geographical contexts. We especially welcome submissions that undermine given assumptions, challenge the definition and purpose of agriculture, and/or transcend simple binary oppositions—such as rural/urban, small-scale/industrial, low-tech/high-tech, utilitarian/symbolic—in analytical case studies.

Session Co-Chairs: Ruth W. Lo, Hamilton College; and Samantha L. Martin, University College Dublin

Human societies may always have had cages for people as well as animals, but carceral architectures emerge dramatically as monumental institutional forms with capitalism, urbanization, and industrialization. Indeed, structures of confinement have been designed by prominent architects and firms from Guillaume-Abel Blouet and H. H. Richardson to Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, producing major penal structures or more modest jails that hover on the edge of standard architectural histories. Significant carceral buildings, like the Eastern State Penitentiary, Pentonville Prison, or even Nazi Germany’s concentration camp system, were heralded as vehicles of reform by their promoters. This session assesses prison buildings, broadly understood, as documents of the penal systems that they enable, probes the socially beneficial claims made for them, and establishes the social and political order that they embody. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, in her galvanizing study, Golden Gulag, identified the racism at the core of California’s program of incarceration, recognizing it as “the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death (2007, 28).” Concomitantly, the AIA forbids member firms from contributing to the design of spaces of torture and prolonged solitary confinement (2020 Code of Ethics, Rule 1.404). Some architectural offices will not undertake work on prisons. “Carceral Architectures” provides a platform for the discussion of how prison architecture abets the elimination of unwanted parts of the social body. At the same time, the session may also serve as grounds for extending the ethical commitments of the AIA and progressive architectural firms. We invite submissions that investigate prisons and their social effects from any era or geographical site.

Session Co-Chairs: Annabel Wharton, Duke University; and Paul Jaskot, Duke University

Black religious spaces comprise significant aspects of a unique institutional network that historically has served as the cultural and, often, economic center of the Black American experience. Through various forms of religious experiences situated within national perceptions of “Blackness,” Black Americans have created spaces that frequently are perceived as “contested grounds”; documents of Black American culture expressing liberation, self-reliance and determination, and reaction to and against forms of racial violence. This session will examine ways in which built environments shape and inform Black American religious experiences. Thus, it seeks papers that investigate architectures of Black Christianity and Islam, but also smaller religious sects connected to African and Caribbean traditions imported to and/or developed in the Americas. We welcome discussions that span from American colonial periods to the present, as well as papers that discuss contemporary manifestations of Blackness in built religious spaces. Questions this session looks to address include: How have constructions of race and identity affected religious identity? How have these constructions affected how and where Black Americans choose to build their religious spaces? How do these religious spaces compare to other forms of religious American identity and how do they differ? The goal of this session is to gather scholarship and new methodologies that address how Black Americans have been and continue to be architectural protagonists in their own religious histories.

Session Co-Chairs: Charlette Caldwell, Columbia University; and William Moore, Boston University

The intention of this session is to consider the substantial influence of daylight, including sunlight, skylight, reflected daylight, shade, and shadow, in architectural production. We will concentrate on the qualitative characteristics and cross-cultural forces of daylight in the conceptualization of buildings and spaces, and seek to uncover the transformative thinking that has always accompanied the consideration of daylight in the design of architectural space. We will focus on the particularity of place to emphasize what we might elicit from circumstance and to universalize our understandings.

Architecture in daylight may be inclusive or exclusive, transparent or translucent; it may communicate potential access and encourage human movement as it delineates pathways; it may be transgressive as light and shadow cross boundaries; it may be concentrated so as to bestow specialness at a particular place in the world; it may distinguish or bridge inside and outside; it may celebrate approaches to sustainability. Indeed, daylight typically performs in several ways at once, layering its meanings and usefulness, while evoking pleasure.

Panelists are encouraged to consider specific circumstances, buildings, and places, that manipulate the characteristics of daylight as they are designed to receive it; that evoke and even generate spatial order, enhance visibility, establish coherence, summon memory, inspire improvisation, act to intercept and redirect illumination, represent transgression, influence human movement, and demonstrate other qualities that may, at first, appear to be singular—even in opposition to each other—but which are, in fact, complementary.

Session Chair: Martin Schwartz, Lawrence Technological University

How do we tell the (hi)stories of architecture? Must they convey an academic tone in order to secure credibility? How would our understanding of architecture change if its (hi)stories were narrated from the perspective of embodied experience—those of the minor architect, the resident, or the historian? And what if these (hi)stories were speculative, fictional, imaginative? Do we as architectural historians have the right to become storytellers, to transgress from the evidential to the imagined? Can we unmoor evidence from its bounded historical circumstance and allow it to drift toward the horizon of its unrealized yet desirable future?

Scholars of humanities and social sciences have been experimenting recently with non-academic writing. Think of the work of Marxist political scientist Lea Ypi, whose memoir, Free, contemplates notions of “freedom” while recounting the collapse of communism in Albania and the political certainties of her upbringing. Or think of Wayward Lives, in which Saidiya Hartman speculates on the lives of early twentieth-century Black girls in the slum, building on archival material—newspaper articles, photographs, court documents—to imagine voices silenced by history. Then there’s the Afrofuturist poetry of sociologist Eve Ewing, who portrays the lives of everyday people during a historical moment: the Chicago race uprising of 1919. And Justin Beal’s Sandfuture stands out as a novelistic account of architect Minoru Yamasaki, surpassing biography and opening up to broader questions of migration, disease, and life in New York, including the author’s own experiences with the afterlife of Yamasaki’s architecture.

This session calls for new modalities of architectural narration that aim to overcome historiographic conventions and reimagine the scope, voice, and method of architecture (hi)story-telling. It invites readings of new works as well as reflections on the leaps taken by architecture’s poets and storytellers, and on how these unconventional approaches expand the field of architectural history.

Session Chair: Jilly Traganou, Parsons School of Design

The architecture exhibition lies at the convergence of two creative professions: that of the architect and that of the curator. When dedicated to the work of women architects, exhibitions call attention to women’s underrepresentation in architectural history and museum displays. Like the case of women artists, the lack of architecture exhibitions about women does not reflect their importance as practitioners. Considering this, the session seeks to explore the link between architecture designed by women and the curatorship of that work, which has been carried out by all genders, throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The late 1970s saw several major exhibitions, such as Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective, (Architectural League of New York, 1977, curator: Susana Torre) and the international exhibition Les femmes architectes exposent (Centre Pompidou, 1978, unidentified curators). These exhibitions embodied a response to second-wave feminism and contributed significantly to architectural thinking, impacting ensuing designs. More recent exhibitions such as Frau Architekt (Frankfurt and Nicosia, 2017, curators: Mary Pepchinski, Christina Budde, and Wolfgang Voigt / 2022, curators: Müge Riza and Teresa Tourvas) and Good News: Women in Architecture (Rome, 2021–22, curators: Pippo Ciorra, Elena Motisi and Elena Tinacci), engaged the past and present achievements of women architects worldwide. Although curators have contributed to scholarship on women architects, their exhibition strategies have met with criticism. Some scholars reject the reliance on personal histories. Others note the over-emphasis on houses, educational spaces, and interiors.

This session welcomes papers focusing on how exhibitions about women architects have shaped the field of architectural history. While historically such exhibitions centered on women and have often been framed as feminist activism, we invite studies that encompass gender not as a binary classification and considers its broad spectrum; we further welcome research that maps the relationship between women’s architectural production and related curatorial practices.

Session Co-Chairs: Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler, Sapir Academic College; and Adi Hamer Yacobi, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Architectural scholarship is being invigorated by discussions of intersectionality, a nuanced model of difference acknowledging the cross-over of systems of oppression and the connectedness of several factors in identity formation including race, class, sexuality, and gender. However, an awareness of deafness and disability has yet to meaningfully inform architectural history and practice.

Attempts to address issues of disability in architecture frequently remain focused on ensuring access to public spaces, while deaf, disabled or neurodiverse practitioners remain historically hidden. The discipline’s limited contribution to disability scholarship continues to obscure overlaps between those spaces which shape the experience of deaf and disabled people with histories of asylums and hospitals, public policies, colonialism, and the politics of the third age.

Our session addresses this shortfall. It aims to highlight histories, designers, and approaches which have remained in the shadows by re-centering architectural discourse in relation to deafness, disability, and neurodiversity. Papers might address urgent questions such as:

  • Which bodies have been erased from normative spatial histories and how could writing these into the discipline produce reimagined architectural histories?
  • How do considerations of deafness, disability, and neurodiversity intersect with architecture’s critique of gender, race, sexuality, etc. to undermine hierarchies of power and influence?
  • How are deafness and disability linked with spatial agency across the globe?
  • How have shifting understandings of deafness, disability, and neurodiversity affected the course of architecture? How has architecture attached meanings to non-normative bodies?
  • How have deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse architects worked to develop unique design approaches?
  • And how could architecture be designed from, rather than for, difference?

Overall, we are interested in papers that incorporate previously excluded modes of knowledge production or deconstruct canonical notions of universality and normativity in architecture.

Session Co-Chairs: Nina Vollenbroker, University College London; and Stylianos Giamarelos, University College London

The Graduate Student Lightning Talks provide graduate students with the opportunity to test ideas, refine thoughts, and enhance presentation skills among a circle of empathetic and supportive peers. This session is composed of up to 16 five-minute talks of approximately 650–700 words each that allow graduate students to introduce new and original research in various stages of progress. In their presentations, students are encouraged to raise questions over the direction of their investigations, explore methodology, or present challenges they have encountered in the development of their ideas. Papers should be clearly and concisely presented, with focused and well-chosen images, in order to encourage thoughtful feedback from the audience during the question-and-answer period. Students at both the master’s and PhD levels are invited to apply by submitting a succinct abstract of no more than 300 words. Authors/co-authors must be graduate students at the time of the conference and must present in person at the session. The SAH Board of Directors’ Graduate Student Representative serves as chair of these popular five-minute presentations.

Session Chair: TBD

The literary genre of horror emerged concurrent with the rise of industrial modernity in the late 18th century. Its defining structures and content were developed to elicit fear from its readers, challenging the limits of rational thinking with fictional monsters, supernatural forces, and imminent catastrophe. The mechanism by which these tropes were able to trigger physiological response targeted already-existing anxieties embodied within the genre’s readership.

Modernization promised to draw the line between the rational and irrational, and horror threatened to break it—at the very least, demonstrating how precarious this defining threshold was. Architecture, the materialized form of this line, was left to barricade the modern subject from these natural and supernatural threats.

This panel will mine horror and its various sub-genres to reveal critical perspectives on architecture’s ability to mediate external forces. A fundamental aspect of modern life relies on the predictability that is ensured through technological control over the outside world. When these relationships start to collapse, fail, or produce unexpected results, we are forced to reconsider their stability. This perspective opens doors to consider architecture’s historical relationships with various external threats extending beyond monsters to other non-human concepts including nature, climate, and the environment.

This panel will explore how material effects of natural and supernatural forces have served to destabilize architectural paradigms in literary and artistic works of horror. The architectural threats, in each case, should be considered a historically-contingent form, serving to challenge particular aspects of modernity and revealing hidden fears of its future. We invite proposals that explore these themes in diverse geographic and temporal contexts, ranging from horror’s folkloric origins through the contemporary. We encourage contributions to consider the relationship between fictional representation and the historical record and the ways in which horror can challenge how we understand the limits of architectural control.

Session Co-Chairs: Chase Galis, ETH Zürich, gta; and Tatiana Carbonell, ETH Zürich, gta

Indigenous communities, governments, and media have called renewed attention in recent years to intergenerational trauma inflicted by boarding and residential school experiences in the United States and Canada. This overdue awareness has resulted in an extensive body of boarding school-related scholarship ranging from educational policy to the history of specific institutions to student experiences, among other aspects and themes. Scholars of architectural history, Indigenous studies, and other fields, however, have paid little attention to the built environment of these institutions. Yet architecture in the form of highly structured westernized built environments that reflected and reinforced shifting policies and priorities was integral to the mission of these schools to Christianize, civilize, and assimilate Indigenous students into Euro-American society.

Architectural history offers a valuable means to study Indigenous education. Perceiving and interpreting a wide variety of historic and contemporary forms of Indigenous educational architecture, including and beyond boarding schools, is especially helpful in understanding student experiences, as concepts of space and place are often central to Indigenous cultures and identities.

This session invites papers that consider a wide range of topics related to educational architecture built by or for Indigenous communities in any period, including traditional buildings used for education such as kivas and menstrual lodges, Indian New Deal community day schools, schools built for First Nations under the Canadian devolution program, Tribal colleges and universities, and centers for Indigenous students within larger universities. Papers might address topics related to architectural production, design, and historic preservation. They could focus on a specific building, institution, Indigenous community, or region; architecture associated with a particular period or policy; or issues such as Indigeneity, modernity, resistance, sovereignty, tradition, or trauma. Session chairs welcome papers with any geographic focus, although topics concerning the southwestern United States would be in keeping with the conference location.

Session Co-Chairs: Anne Marshall, University of Idaho; and Jason Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche/Cherokee), Idaho State Historic Preservation Office

Numerous studies have attempted to decipher the relationship between architecture and the life sciences by focusing on the formal attributes of organisms in the tradition of D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Geometricized plants and animals in these exercises have rendered visible designers’ aspirations to alter nonhuman constituencies. These biomimetic tendencies in art and design—and their historical accounts— have often ignored their connection to biotechnics: a tradition of theory and practice which presumed and promoted, problematically, that the natural world exists within the realm of human control. Yet the possibilities afforded by design’s relationship to the life sciences can be more than the outcome of a rhetorical move or representational strategy. Instead, we might reframe architecture and the life sciences as Western worldmaking institutions responsible for shaping the human understanding of and engagements with life; consider their relatedness to social, technological, political, and economic developments; and reflect on the consequences of their alignments.

This session intends to offer an alternative to interpretations of the historical intermingling between design and science as a fascination with form-making or analogy. Rather than reiterate instances of how nature or science offered opportunities for creative instrumentalization, this session invites papers that connect entanglements between design and the life sciences to disciplinary, social, political, or economic wills in specific historical contexts; and to the broader imperative of human technics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Submissions are encouraged to explore how the “design,” abstraction, instrumentalization, and industrialization of biological life was a response to, or consequence of, processes of modernization and colonization. Papers may link episodes of interdisciplinary exchange to the ways that scientific, philosophical, and cultural attitudes toward concepts of nature, territory, and environment transformed over time; contributed to the construction of knowledge; legitimated forms of social and biological governance; and participated in the reproduction of inequality.

Session Chair: Esther Choi, Getty / ACLS, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Histories of architecture tend to be written about events that took place over 30 years ago. This rule of thumb might help prevent historians from treading on the toes of the living. It might allow time for the dust to settle and for archivists to acquire and catalogue their documents. Yet there are good reasons to write about the last 30 years—the nineties, the noughties and the tens—because these are years that greatly define our present moment and yet have received comparably less scrutiny by professional historians. This session calls for such histories of the last three decades, but it does so with an additional methodological frame, asking for intellectual histories of those years; histories that focus on the dominant ideas, ideologies, sensibilities, and modes of thought, which always accompany and are interwoven with material, technical, social, and economic changes.

Papers might address such matters as the influence of ideas concerning complexity and self-organization on architecture in the nineties, or ideas drawn from pragmatism or the movement labelled as “SuperDutch.” They might address the so-called “end of theory” or “post-criticality” at the turn of the millennium. They might address any aspect of the digital, the successive phases of the development of the internet on architectural production and its reception and mediation throughout the past 30 years. They might consider the global success of minimalism, neo-modernism, and high-tech architecture in the nineties and noughties, the rise of the so-called “star architect” and “iconic building,” and the “Bilbao Effect”. They might address the development of discourses of “affect,” “sensation” and “materialism” in the noughties and tens, and of the so-called “post-digital,” the “post-internet,” and “neo-postmodern,” turns in the years that followed.

The session also welcomes papers with a methodological self-awareness of the question of writing about such recent histories and writing histories that focus on ideas and ideologies. Such papers might offer commentary and analysis on such challenges as accessing and preserving digital files, the rapid disappearance of things posted on the internet, engaging with living subjects, wading into the midst of living ideological battles and institutional politics, and the exponential increase in the speed, quantity, and distribution of events.

Session Chair: Joseph Bedford, Virginia Tech

This session invites papers that present theoretical frameworks for the study of Greek and Roman urban environments with the aim of bringing together the fields of classical archaeology, architecture, and architectural history. Archaeology and architectural history share common origins in the antiquarian strain of post-Renaissance European scholarship, while the origin of professional architecture goes back further in time. The specialization of all three fields has led to tensions among them. 

In some cases, archaeologists, architects, and architectural historians have overcome the disciplinary boundaries created by university structures and professional practice to argue that archaeology, architecture, and architectural history are complementary and together provide the fullest possible account of a building. Such cooperation produces admirable multidisciplinary studies of individual buildings, but there has been no comparable effort in the study of ancient Greek and Roman cities as a whole.

Archaeologists who focus on urban sites have yet to address their subjects in relation to the evolving fields of architecture and architectural history. One notable new development is the conceptualization of urbanism and its constituents as a form of landscape. Over the past 20 years, practitioners and historians have coined the term “landscape urbanism” to describe the way that urban form includes physical infrastructure and ecology. Many of these developments aim to articulate a more ecologically conscious mode of analysis, which could have important implications for scholarship on ancient cities. The aim of the session is to address the ways in which physical infrastructure as well as environmental concerns informed urban planning and design practices in Greek and Roman cities. The panel welcomes papers that seek to develop new models that unite the best practices in architecture, archaeology, and architectural history.

Session Chair: Mantha Zarmakoupi, University of Pennsylvania

Evaporative coolers, solar chimneys, wind towers, raised structures, and shade canopies are just some of the successful strategies used in passive building designs around the world.  With growing impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, and with buildings contributing an estimate of 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, what can be learned from past forms of passive modern building design in extreme climates that might be relevant to today?

Building on the recent scholarship of Daniel Barber (Modern Architecture and Climate: Design before Air Conditioning) and Barnabas Calder (Architecture From Prehistory to Climate Emergency), this session focuses on lessons learned from mid-century modern passive buildings created for hot climates around the world, including the Southwestern United States, as well as other locations, such as Brazil, India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, that can offer potential solutions for the growing environmental problems of the 21st century. The session will reflect on work of the region in which the SAH 2024 conference is being held, like the movable corrugated sunshades of Arthur T. Brown’s Ball-Paylore House in Tucson, and global examples, such as the adaptation of traditional, vernacular wooden building forms and systems that allow for passive cooling in the modern concrete buildings of Vann Molyvann in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The goal of the session is to explore and make connections between historical passive design solutions to frame and respond to the emerging environmental and energy challenges we face today. Investigations relating to a broad range of creative passive solutions from 20th-century modern architecture around the world are welcomed, as are older past examples influential to modern designers.

Session Co-Chairs: Lisa Schrenk, University of Arizona; and Clare Robinson, University of Arizona

From contemporary Ukraine and recent Isis-occupied portions of various Middle Eastern countries to Indigenous peoples and territories of the Americas, a long list of cultures around the globe face the dilemma of hostile demolition of cultural heritage. In Ukraine, assuming eventual recovery of territory and restored peace, a war-torn population will confront a daunting array of preservation, restoration, and reconstruction challenges. In anticipation of Europe’s largest national reconstruction project since 1945, this panel calls for a review of representative examples from a panoply of recent historic preservation projects and practices from around the world. How have competing histories and identities been addressed at different global sites in recent years—as, for example, with the reconstruction of cabins for enslaved persons and Sally Hemings’ living quarters at Jefferson’s Monticello; or, for example, with the interpretive reconstruction of the Grand Duke’s Palace in the culturally diverse Lithuanian capital, Vilnius? When does heritage reconstruction shade into policy over-reach and special interest nationalism, as many have argued occurred at the Berlin palace, where reconstruction as a “Humboldt Forum” was completed in 2020? When are projects such as these dignified, and when are they merely “Disneyfied”? Mindful of a preservation literature spanning from James Marston Fitch’s Curatorial Management of the Built World to Francois Choay’s The Invention of the Historic Monument, from Alois Riegl’s The Modern Cult of Monuments to Adrian von Buttlar’s Historic Preservation, Not a Cult of Imitations, this panel seeks to serve as a laboratory of global examples for what preservation practices can and cannot work as solutions for cultural heritage reconstruction in contemporary conflict zones. The panel seeks papers about sites around the world, representative of diverse histories, cultures, projects, and perspectives.

Session Chair: John Maciuika, Baruch College

Working within the intersection between architectural history, material culture, decorative arts, and the history of design, historians of interiors face a significant challenge: ephemerality. The evidence and archive typically left behind is fragmentary and by its nature, always already outdated. Re-design and adaptive re-use, if not outright destruction, overlay each other, resulting in an interior palimpsest which poses as many questions as it does answers. How can we better interrogate the changing design, meaning, and use of interiors over time?
This session invites papers that address the lifecycle and experience of ephemeral interiors through new methods, theories, archival sources, and innovative technologies. How might such approaches enable us to preserve and document patterns of design and inhabitation, not only for the homes of the wealthy, but diverse groups of people including servants, white-collar workers, the enslaved, the immigrant, and the working poor? We welcome proposals dealing with any period or geographical location. Interdisciplinary and collaborative papers are especially encouraged.

Organized by the SAH Historic Interiors Affiliate Group.

Session Chair: Anca I. Lasc, Pratt Institute

Ottoman architectural and urban culture was transformed by momentous changes in the 19th century. Advances in transportation and communication technologies resulted in an explosion of spatial knowledge and an increase in its circulation. On the one hand, the number of architects, master builders, and patrons increased. The distribution of architectural knowledge in books, maps, photos, print media, and advertisements intensified. Actual architectural artifacts, like spolia, circulated as never before. On the other hand, novel architectural typologies, industrial materials, urban transformations, and an unprecedented number of newly constructed buildings altered the ways that Ottomans encountered the city. Their collective and individual representational modes diversified. Ottomans in and outside of the imperial lands moved from place to place, forming a network of inter-connectivity, transmitting architectural knowledge as they went. Publications, exhibitions, and the spread of historical knowledge also encouraged people to travel. Additionally, involuntary travel due to deportation, dispossession, and resistance complicated the modes of mobility throughout the 19th century. Overall, there was simply more data and objects of architectural knowledge for analysis than in prior centuries.

Against this background of the movement of people and the dissemination of knowledge, this session seeks to explore 19th-century Ottoman architecture. Tracing the narratives of networks, associations, and human and non-human actors helps us understand late Ottoman architecture in a way that lends nuance to discussions of ethnoreligious, national, socio-economic, and gender categories. We welcome scholars from different backgrounds who employ a range of methods, and especially encourage those who uncover lesser-known patterns of movement, intersections, and encounters.

Session Co-Chairs: Semra Horuz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Firuzan Melike Sumertas, University of California, Berkeley

Whilst much as been written about certain aspects of the emergence and coverage of modernist architecture in post-World War II Africa, (Stanek, 2021; Levin, 2022; Uduku, 2006, 2024; Le Roux, 2003; Jackson and Holland, 2016) most of this output has focused on the actors and their role, actual or supposed, in creating African Modernism. We now have a body of scholarship that reveals landmark architecture, mostly commercial or institutional (Herz et. al., 2016), with a few domestic inclusions (Wilson and Tolkin 2010). Research into postwar healthcare design on the African continent has been sparse and largely unrecorded.

This panel seeks contributions to fill this lacuna. The history of healthcare provision in Africa goes farther than the post-war era; critical histories in missionary history reference the establishment of religious missions and their link to healthcare. Anthropologists and historians have long identified the links that remain between spaces for traditional medicine within “western” medicine in African settings (Geissler et. al. 2016; Prince, 2020; Roberts 2021). This intersection of sociology/anthropology and medicine is of particular interest to this panel.

We welcome papers that present scholarship on postwar hospital design across the African continent, incorporating all kinds, from university teaching hospitals to missionary and private clinics and healthcare facilities. We are also open to papers that explore the wider history of healthcare infrastructure design and provision, such as urban planning and healthcare networks, as well as research that covers actors and buildings that have contributed to the evolution of medical infrastructure and facilities without the African “Modernism” period, generally spanning the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. We encourage comparative studies of medical modernism, whether Pan-African, with other emerging countries, or with healthcare in the global north, and papers that bring architecture into conversation with studies of African Modernism in literature and film.

Session Co-Chairs: Stuart Leslie, Johns Hopkins University; and Ola Uduku, University of Liverpool

Three weeks prior to the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world’s first atomic bomb exploded in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Seventy-five years and 2,000 tests later, communities worldwide continue to grapple with the lasting impacts and reconcile the enduring built environments that supported such imperial violence. While recent scholars have considered the complicity of architects in 20th-century war efforts and the material effects of the military-industrial complex, many have focused on the indirect part that architects played in defending or protecting communities. A largely overlooked story can be found in architects’ direct roles as designers of military weapons and infrastructures not historically defined as “architecture.” Still another concerns the ways they took knowledge gained through such work into their profession thereafter, profoundly shaping communities and environments. This panel seeks to consider how architects contributed to the development of nuclear weapons, a signal event in modernity, and, in turn, how nuclear development shaped modern architecture—from firms to buildings to cities. Of particular—though not exclusive—interest is the way such histories unfolded in New Mexico and the broader Southwest.

Among other topics, we invite papers that consider the influence of military training, service, or public-private alliances on architecture practice during World War II and the Cold War; unexpected or unique roles that architects held in the production or testing of nuclear weapons (including as anti-nuclear activists); aesthetic concerns that arose from the infrastructure of nuclear development; and the relationships between nuclear war, modernism, and urban development more broadly. We also welcome papers that directly focus on Southwestern U.S. subjects, including how modernism that emerged from atomic-age New Mexico shaped places well beyond; how nuclear development transformed cities like Alamogordo, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe; and the history of specific Southwestern architectural sites, from laboratories to testing facilities to housing.

Session Co-Chairs: Aaron Cayer, University of New Mexico; and Brian Goldstein, Swarthmore College

Focus on First Nations’ material culture in architectural history has been led, most recently, by nations with settler colonial pasts, where the racialized genocide of Indigenous peoples was foundational for territorial and discursive dominance. Subsequent immigrant-, post colonial- and refugee-settler populations have been subsumed into narratives of settler colonialism and First Nations suppression with insufficient attention to particularities of time and place. This session invites scholars focused on Asia to interrogate how we might redress our framing of indigeneity as internally differentiated by continuing Indigenous presence, practices, worldviews, and questions of ethnicity. Despite the co-mingling of Indigenous and settler populations—who may appear racially similar—and the cultural absorption of Indigenous values and practices, discriminatory and exclusionary government policies and intellectual framings persist across Asia. Perceived civilizational hierarchies, whether as dictated by endogenous imperial rule or learned from colonialism and universalising religions, have marginalized and minoritised Indigenous communities as primitives. Although Indigenous built and unbuilt environments form the basis for vernacular architectural approaches in Asia, these environments have been misinterpreted and misappropriated due to fundamental epistemic prejudices suggesting stasis and naive authenticity.

This session examines the spatial, material, and environmental mediation of Asian settler and First Nations relationships, inviting scholars committed to contesting hegemonic cultural framings and regional vernacular typologies that have inhibited consideration of the socially complex, politically dynamic, and sometimes hostile intersections and elisions of Indigeneity by our disciplines. Its objective is to explore and develop research-led approaches that acknowledge and value Asia’s Indigenous societies and to develop an intellectual and pedagogical framework for integrating Asian- within global- pan-Indigenous knowledge systems; encouraging Indigenous scholars from Asia to assume leadership in the spatial disciplines. We are particularly open to interdisciplinary contributions that historicize built environment themes and that engage respectfully and ethically with Indigenous conceptions and practices of sovereignty.

Session Co-Chairs: Anoma Pieris, The University of Melbourne, Australia; and Jayde Lin Roberts, University of New South Wales

Organized by the SAH Minority Scholars Affiliate Group.

Open Sessions are available for those whose research does not match any of the themed sessions. Papers submitted to the Open Sessions are assessed in terms of perceived merit, and not in regard to geography, era, theme, etc.

Session Chairs: TBD

Through selective breeding, cloning, and genetic modification, plants in the 21st century are as much technological objects as they are part of the natural world. Additionally, through the apparatus and designed environments for human-plant interactions—those of scientific research, recreation, agriculture, and extraction—plants are also technological subjects.

This session invites explorations of the architecture, landscapes, and urban environments for vegetation whose significance is directly linked to the concentrated efforts of society through technology. Of particular interest are papers that explore these topics in relation to the “non-human” turn in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Sylvia Lavin’s recent work on plant life and architecture revives “the ways in which architects adapted plant-based models of resource processing,” not as metaphor or motif but as an alternative set of environmental and ecological relations (“Reclaiming Plant Architecture,” 2019). Along these lines, an expanded view toward landscape and urbanism requires historical reinterpretations of nature-culture binaries such that purely instrumental views of biological life give way to new and potentially unanticipated spaces of coordination between living organisms and their diverse systems of vitality.

Paper topics may include plants as mediated matter for design (such as relationships between the nursery industry and design, architectural green walls and facades, and interior landscapes); the landscape and architecture of colonial botany; indigenous technologies of plant cultivation and colonial resistance; relevant architectural program (ranging from industrial agriculture to laboratories); or specific horticultural materials (stadium turf, engineered soils).

Session Chair: Danielle Choi, Harvard University

How do we read the history of an urban protest on an architectural scale? How do architectural and urban morphology shape the causes, development, and ultimate outcome of urban protests? In a century defined by increased spread of visual information, how do we understand the role of the built landscape channeling expressions of public political will?

Despite global digitalization, tactile urban protest remains the most effective grassroots instrument to institute change, address societal discontent, and restrict abuses of institutional power in democracies and autocracies alike. Twenty-first century public protests bolster their efficacy and visibility through social media (Gerbaudo 2012, Elshahed 2011, Howard and Parks 2012, Bohdanova 2014, Price 2002), yet while urban protests have been meticulously examined from a standpoint of the signature public spaces, the relationship between protests and quotidian built environment and everyday architecture is understudied.

International media fixate on protests in plazas, near signature buildings or iconic boulevards. They frequently bear the names of these iconic places, such as the cases of Tiananmen, Taksim, and Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square protests. However, such labels and images only show the apex of what shapes the character and potential success of a protest. Beneath the flashy images of crowds at major plazas there are networks of residential streets, courtyards, apartment blocks, temples, markets, transportation and logistics routes, and pathways which are essential to sustain a protest’s momentum. During public protests, escape routes, food supply, medical aid, and the avoidance of police are all mediated by the everyday built environment. Absent spatial knowledge and the horizontal networks created in each particular city fabric with its peculiar architectural morphologies, protests become logistically impossible. This panel calls for investigations of interrelationship between urban insurgencies and architecture at the building, street, and neighborhood scale.

Session Co-Chairs: Kateryna Malaia, Mississippi State University; and Nathan Mark Hutson, University of North Texas

This session welcomes papers that address Indigenous building in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in any time period. Indigenous architects, facing multiple historic and contemporary challenges, have designed, and continue to design, a wide range of building types that attend to identity and the relationship with the natural world. Indigenous architecture today is a vital cultural undertaking that reflects the values of its diverse communities. Papers may analyze those engaged in traditional methods of building and formally trained architects, religious and secular uses, obsolescence and re-use, and the ways that meanings change over time. Subjects in the U.S. Southwest are especially encouraged.

Session Chair: Garron Yepa, AICAE, Assoc. AIA, MASS Design Group/Cornerstones Community Partnerships

At the turn of the 20th century, America began a period of rapid development and technological advancement. Prior to this period, infrastructure was primarily limited to roads, canals, and early forms of communication such as postal service and telegraphy. The period after the U.S. Civil War marked a dramatic change as electricity, telecommunications, and mass transit remade the American landscape to include structures such as suspension bridges, tunnels, railways, ventilation towers, turbine halls, pumping stations, and hydroelectric dams.

While conceived with function in mind, government and private industry alike executed these buildings with a rich vocabulary of architectural craft. Whereas contemporary infrastructure often eschews architectural expression in the name of efficiency and cost control, that built during the American Renaissance and Art Deco was truly cross-disciplinary, combining architecture and engineering. Well-known examples, such as Irving Morrow’s collaboration with Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss on the Golden Gate Bridge or Gordon Kaufman’s work on the Hoover Dam, stand as testament to this. These monumental works of American infrastructure expressed society’s unbridled optimism in social, cultural, and technological progress in public works of architecture across the United States.

We invite papers that explore the deep histories of familiar and unfamiliar projects and the architects and engineers who worked on them in the period between the Civil War and World War II. What role did the academy play in nurturing public infrastructure design? How did industry and government, including the Public Works Administration, foster the importance of design as an integral feature of infrastructure? As many projects near the end of their service life, questions of historic preservation become complicated as engineering performance or contemporary requirements potentially render them obsolete. Does their critical necessity protect such projects? Does design quality and historical significance make them worthy of rehabilitation? Most importantly, what role should architecture play in the development and implementation of infrastructure as we reinvent our cities and industries to confront the needs of the future?

Session Co-Chairs: Kenneth Gowland, MetroStudio, LLC; and Marcus Carter, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Since its spread in the post-war era, television has completely changed the way we live and work. As a gateway for news and entertainment, it transformed how we make sense of ourselves and the world. As an object commanding our attention for several hours a day, it changed how we design and experience domestic and public space. However, despite its manifold effects on human life, the medium has barely registered in architectural history. And when it did, it was mostly as a platform for the mediatization of architectural works, events, and figures. To date, in fact, historians have predominantly focussed on architecture on television (i.e., televisual representations of buildings). Yet, there is still a lot to learn about the architecture of television (i.e., the architectural and spatial shifts resulting from the advent of the medium), all the more so since architects have contributed to television’s operations in many ways (by designing television studios, infrastructures and sets, as well as by imagining spaces for the reception of TV broadcasts). Conversely, television has inspired more than one architect to rethink the discipline’s place and possibilities in the world. And so, now that television as we know it is slowly sliding into oblivion, what can architectural historians make of its legacy?

This session seeks contributions that examine architecture’s manifold entanglement with the television medium across different national contexts. In particular, it welcomes papers on architecture’s role in the production and consumption of TV content. Potential topics might range from the aesthetics of specific TV shows, to the architecture of TV studios, broadcasting houses and television-related infrastructure, to the impact of the TV set on the production and consumption of architectural space. Contributions should draw connections between the aesthetic, technological, material, political, and ideological aspects of architecture in and for television. We especially seek papers that show conceptual and methodological ingenuity in analyzing these aspects and their relations. Ultimately, the session aims to establish a new subfield at the intersection of architectural history, media studies, and the history of technology.

Session Co-Chairs: Davide Spina, ETH Zurich; and Léa-Catherine Szacka, University of Manchester

Rob Nixon, a leading scholar in the environmental humanities, has described climate change as a series of “long emergencies” that are instances of “slow violence” that disproportionately affect people with limited resources. This session highlights the need for architectural historians to engage with histories of land exploitation—acts of excavation that accelerated climate change. These histories may emerge from diverse geographies, political circumstances, and social imperatives. These are the histories of displaced populations, deforestation, land reclamation and manipulation, changing land ownership and transience patterns, damaged ecosystems, altered tides and currents, and increased flooding events. These are also the histories of regulations, technologies, and governmental apparatuses that shaped landscapes, infrastructures, industries, materials, and habitats over long periods of time.

What new methods, sources, and frameworks will generate new understandings of vast scales, geographies, and economics of climate change? How can we rethink risk, resilience, and perpetual maintenance? How can scholars destabilize entrenched narratives of immobility, value, ownership, and growth? How does climate change relate to colonial and imperial sites of production, extraction, and transaction? What role does land value play in the production of long emergencies? How do we study the histories of resources in relation to failure, negligence, disruption, and collapse? The session chairs welcome researchers at different career stages and from under-represented groups. We encourage papers that cut across geographies, scales, and time.

Session Co-Chairs: Deepa Ramaswamy, University of Houston; and Dalia Munenzon, University of Houston

Noted landscape historian J.B. Jackson lived from the late 1940s until his death in 1996 in New Mexico, site of the SAH 2024 conference, while first editing his journal, Landscape, and then teaching alternate semesters at Berkeley and Harvard. While Jackson’s methods of cultural landscape interpretation remain influential, the world he sought to understand has changed dramatically. He dealt little with our contemporary concerns for ethnic, racial, and gender identity or with climate change—issues prominent in the American Southwest today. This session will explore how we might extend Jackson’s cultural landscape approach to address political, environmental, and social considerations today.

We invite papers that examine the work of J.B. Jackson, his followers, and critics in light of recent investigations of the built environment foregrounding the social construction of identity and the relationship between human-designed and natural landscapes. How might his insights about the physical forms of culture be re-tooled for our own times? How can we better read  the landscape to discern the violence done to its human occupants and to the landscape itself? In what ways might vernacular architecture and larger cultural landscapes help us think about the issues of climate change and adaptation, of cultural identity and social justice reparations? We particularly welcome investigations of the Southwest region, with its Indigenous and Hispanic populations, its borderland condition, and its desert climate, as well as relevant studies of other places and times.

Session Co-Chairs: James Michael Buckley, University of Oregon (ret.); and Chris Wilson, University of New Mexico

As globalization expands and deepens its impact on the Global South, transnational mobility follows. With the onset of expanded international interdependence, migration is no longer unidirectional. Instead, people of all classes and races move in different directions and with diverse intentions. Transnational migrations within and to the Global South are multifaceted and complex, as are the cross-cultural enclaves emerging in the Global South cities.

The driving forces, operational mechanisms, personnel characteristics, and architecture of transnational mobility have evolved throughout the history of globalization. In the 19th century, British colonial authorities transported indentured Indian laborers to build and operate colonial infrastructure and plantations in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Despite facing labor exploitation and racial segregation, Indian indentured laborers established their own ethnic enclaves that are still thriving in African cities like Durban. In more recent times, China’s emerging role in financing and building African infrastructure has had an impact on the host countries’ built environments. Chinese architects are exporting their design languages and tectonic systems to theatres, stadiums, and railway stations in Africa. Chinese expatriates in Africa build their own temporary walled compounds African cities like Nairobi, Lagos, and Johannesburg. African merchants and students also settle in Chinese trading cities, creating informal enclaves and transforming businesses and spatial structures in Guangzhou and Yiwu. These transnational districts, together with their host communities, constitute a vibrant, inclusive, and contested urban landscape.

The study of ethnic enclaves suggests an alternative understanding of transnational mobility, urbanism, and architecture in the Global South. Besides normative informal, temporary, and in-flux migrant spaces, what novel characteristics are formulated in response to the highly diverse, dynamic, and dependent mobilities within the Global South? This session welcomes papers that consider the way that the buildings in ethnic enclaves respond to historic precedents and contemporary trends in architecture, construction, and urbanization. This session also encourages empirical knowledge gained from fieldwork. Papers focusing on cross-cultural interactions, spatial ethnography, and emerging socio-spatial topics (climate resilience, sustainability, pan-Africanism, China-Africa interaction, etc.) are specifically encouraged.

Session Chair: Cheng Chen, University of Virginia

Before setting forth his principles for a theory of architecture in his Essai sur l'Architecture, Marc-Antoine Laugier distinguished the building site from the building in disparaging terms—consisting of “heaps of shapeless materials, dangerous scaffolds, a frightful game of machines, a multitude of ragged laborers.” Any construction site was merely the vulgar prelude to the art and science of architecture.

The architectural histories that have followed have, by and large, overlooked the construction site entirely or, in attending to it, have regarded it as only the means toward an architectural end. But research such as Linda Clarke’s pioneering studies of the construction industry as political economy and more recent work on building materials and architectural specifications have signaled the value of new perspectives that endeavor to assess the construction site as a particular event in and of itself. This session aims to encourage and expand this opening within architectural history by soliciting diverse studies of the circumstances of historical building sites.

This session solicits papers that address aspects of construction sites in any historical period or geographic region; papers concerned with the medieval or early modern period are especially welcome. The issues papers might pursue include the status of building sites as instruments of social production; the cultural symbolism of building sites; the political economy of urban or rural construction; the laws that regulate the processes, labor, and materials of construction sites; and the tools and techniques that organize and carry out the work of construction sites. Papers should be focused upon specific contingencies of construction sites—not on general histories of construction or histories of structural engineering—but the session is also open to presentations focused on theory and methods of historical approaches to construction sites.

Session Co-Chairs: Timothy Hyde, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Caroline Murphy, Villanova University

Diasporas, resulting from radically diverse sociopolitical events and traumas, have shared a historical interest in articulating collective visions of survival, futurity, and homelands. For example, in the case of Afro-Brazilians “returning” to Africa, starting in the 19th century, the neo-baroque architecture provided a vision of futurity and self-emancipation in the new homeland made in Lagos, despite the British colonial rule. In the following century, exilic Armenian architects fleeing the Ottoman Empire after the genocide utilized medieval Armenian architectural motives of the Southern Caucasus, where they never lived, to re-imagine a homeland in France, Ethiopia, or Egypt. When juxtaposed, such different contexts and temporalities allow us to discuss how diasporic laborers and agents have curated and manipulated familiar and nonfamiliar references in their self-interest of class, religion, race, and ethnicity.

Recent architectural history scholarship has worked to uncover the agency of migrants, refugees, exiles, and other noncitizen subjects. This session is interested in diasporic thinking, that is, negotiated visions of futurity, democracy, and belonging applied to architecture. Specifically, we are inspired by Esra Akcan’s Open Architecture inquiry on how to map histories of possibilities imagined by the displaced beyond legal constructions of citizenship. This session expands the question of “what might have been” to broader diasporic thinking and asks: How can scholars write about the histories of resistance and constructions of alternative futurities? How have diasporic architectural practices negotiated sociocultural performances, ideals of the future, democracy, collectivity, and multiplicity in broader global contexts?

This panel is not limited to African or West Asian diasporas. It welcomes situated histories of future-building to facilitate a comparative discussion through alternative archives and affective histories. We invite papers focusing on diasporic and marginalized agents and contexts. We particularly welcome submissions with alternative methodologies, including but not limited to oral history, critical fabulation, and literary analysis, among others.

Session Co-Chairs: Aslıhan Günhan, Cornell University; and Ana Ozaki, Princeton University


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