Appel à communication : « Crossing boundaries : Rethinking European Architecture beyond Europe »

1280px-HydeParkBarracksCALL FOR PAPERS

Crossing boundaries: Rethinking European architecture beyond Europe
International Conference

The International network "European Architecture beyond Europe: Sharing 
Research and Knowledge on Dissemination Processes, Historical Data and 
Material Legacy (19th-20th centuries)", chaired by Mercedes Volait and 
Johan Lagae, and supported by EC funding through the COST Action 
IS0904, is opening calls for papers for its final Conference to take 
place on 13-17 April 2014 at Palermo (Italy).

We invite the submission of abstracts for papers in the panel:


chaired by Alex Bremner (Edinburgh University) and JoAnne Mancini 
(National University of Ireland Maynooth).

This session seeks to explore and debate the ways in which we write 
(and have written) the history of ‘European architecture abroad’, 
particularly in the context of European imperial expansion. For some 
thirty years now the study of European imperial and colonial 
architecture has largely been refracted through the theoretical lens of 
post-structuralism—mainly appropriated from philosophy, literary and 
cultural studies—in the form of the ‘Orientalist’ critique of Edward 
Said and other forms of Foucauldian discourse analysis, nominally 
referred to as ‘post-colonial theory’. As powerful and seductive as 
these modes of analysis may be, and as useful in their opening new ways 
of seeing and interpreting forms of cultural production such as 
architecture, they have become formulaic, predictable, and even 
orthodox. They have also received trenchant and sustained criticism 
from the wider scholarly community in historical studies (especially 
outside art and architecture circles) for their inherent limitations.

This leaves us with the question of where the study of European 
imperial and colonial architecture might turn next. On the whole, other 
scholarly and cognate traditions, such as early modern and modern 
European history, have developed more diverse and wide-ranging 
approaches to the study of empire and culture, adapting insights from 
geography, environmental studies, anthropology, and other disciplines; 
and have devoted significant attention to integral concepts such as 
networks and agency. Although not necessarily opposed to discourse 
analysis, these scholarly frameworks—including regional approaches 
(‘Atlantic’, ‘Pacific’, ‘Indian Ocean’, and ‘World/Global’ histories), 
network theory, and ‘connected’ histories—provide new and very 
different insights than those provided by post-colonial theory. 
However, just as architectural historians have not fully engaged with 
scholars in these fields, early modern historians have also been 
somewhat reluctant to engage fully with architecture and the built 
environment as agents and repositories of social practice and social 

Can, indeed should, architectural history engage more with these 
alternative scholarly traditions and modes of analysis? What can we 
learn from them, and how might we apply them? How might architectural 
historians interact more productively with colleagues in history and 
historical social science disciplines to encourage more 
architecturally-informed analysis in those fields? Or, ought 
post-colonial theory remain the key concept and frame of reference that 
underpins our study of the colonial built environment? This session 
welcomes papers that address any aspects of these key questions, either 
by dealing specifically with methodological approaches that enhance, 
progress, and/or transform our understanding of European imperial and 
colonial architecture, or by exploring case studies that allow for 
these methodological concerns to be elaborated in specific contexts. 
Put simply: where are we, where are we going, and where do we want to 
be as scholars of the colonial built environment.

The deadline for proposing a paper (300-word abstract) is 1 December 
2013. Submissions to the chairs of the sessions (Alex Bremner 
[] and JoAnne Mancini []) 
should be accompanied by a short biographical note (max. 150 words). 
Acceptance decisions will be communicated by mid-December. Please note 
that invited speakers are expected to submit their complete paper by 15 
March, 2014, to be circulated among the conference’s participants. 
Speakers based in countries participating in the Action (refer to the 
website for the complete list) will be able 
to claim reimbursement of their expenses. A few grant

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