Call for Papers: Method Acts Workshop Series

by SAH News | Sep 23, 2020

Open Call for Emerging Scholars to Present on New and Reconsidered Methods

Method Acts is a series of virtual workshops focused on scholarly techniques for graduate students and emerging scholars in architectural history and adjacent fields. This series of three events will be a forum for discussing approaches to our work.

Historical methods are practices and are inherently political. The question of who gets to write history is inextricable from the politics of how they write it. The scope, subject, and mode of address, the historical evidence that is available in any given moment, and the orientation of the researcher all condition our encounters with the events and objects that we study. As architectural historians in early phases of our careers, we have the opportunity to orient our field toward broader forms of engagement.

In conjunction with efforts to expand the topics that we select for historical inquiry, we must also reassess the ways that we approach those topics. As increasingly varied forms of evidence other than traditional architectural media provide the basis for the history that we write, we should also account for the format of media as epistemic categories. Moreover, in situations (such as the current moment) in which archives are unavailable, non-existent or inaccessible, how can we, as scholars, continue to engage with research by the means available to us without sacrificing depth and details? Barred from travel, how can our field nonetheless retain the ambition to construct a global architectural history? As scholars realign research towards engaged, activist, and decolonial methods, we propose using the present moment as an opportunity to engage questions of the constituency, to continue the work of shaping a more inclusive disciplinary field.

This workshop series confronts questions of methodology head-on. They ask how new methods may prompt reconsiderations of content, both familiar and not. Architectural history utilizes and learns from methods and practices in anthropology, historical anthropology, science and technology studies, media archaeology, environmental justice history, translation studies, critical race theory, feminist, gender, and queer studies, among other fields. An essential aspect of this series of workshops will be rethinking how we relate to the subjects of our research and one another when discussing it. Toward that end, rather than a typical seminar-style format (with a leader and assigned reading), we propose a horizontally-organized structure in which we discuss works in progress. Authors interested in engaging methodological claims will select a portion of their work and other comparative works that align with or diverge from their approach.

Taking the abstract, bibliography, archive, and footnote as places where methods are imprinted, discussions will begin with 10 minutes presentations by invited emerging scholars providing a concise overview of their research, their methodological frame, and a specific area where the intervention occurs: the abstract, bibliography, archive, or footnote. Following the discussions, the committee will moderate questions for approximately 30 minutes (with a 5 minute introduction and conclusion to the event).

Method Acts is organized by SAH Graduate Students Advisory Council members Jia Yi Gu, Jonah Rowen, and Jessica Varner and is supported by a grant from the Gill Family Foundation.

Workshop Format:

The 75-minute workshop will consist of 3 presentations on selected methods, presented by invited doctoral candidates and emerging scholars from international universities. We invite expressions of interest for 10-15-minute presentations, which will be framed by discussions with workshop participants. Intended audience and participants are emerging ABD scholars or 1-3 years after dissertation. The presentations will take place in English and online.


  • Current - October 15, 2020: open call for submissions
  • October 15, 2020: deadline for submissions
  • October 16-31, 2020: submission review by committee
  • November 1-15, 2020: selection & invitation to participate
  • December 2020 - February 2021: 3 workshops over 3 months

The three workshops will take place online.

  • Friday December 18, 2020, 1PM PST / 4PM EST
  • Friday January 15, 2021, 1PM PST / 4PM EST
  • Friday February 26, 2021, 1PM PST / 4PM EST


Deadline to submit: October 15, 2020, 11:59 PM CST 

For more information, please contact SAH Director of Programs, Christopher Kirbabas, at

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610