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Doctoral Colloquium Conversation 2—Architectural History of the Collective/ by the Collective

Doctoral Colloquium Conversation 2—Architectural History of the Collective/ by the Collective

Conversants: Maria Cotera (American Culture & Women’s Studies), Julia Hell (German Studies), Ana Maria Leon (History of Art/ Romance Languages and Literature), Mireille Roddier (Taubman College)/Keith Mitnick (Taubman College)(TBC)

Curators: Maja Babic, Seçil Binboğa, Seda Kayim, Jieqiong Wang

Moderator: Joss Kiely (TBC)

Architectural history—as the history of an intrinsically political practice—is prevalently established in and by institutions. Although it is problematic to limit the practice of history-writing to the confines of any single official discourse, the multiplicity of conflicting architectural narratives today, and the diversity of the methodologies we use in writing history and theory, still seem to ignore ‘unsanctioned’ historical narratives –namely, those of different collectives.

We are seeking to understand how the history of architecture might be written collectively, or whether it has ever been written in such a manner. Yet, in order to pursue this exploration, we first need to question what ‘collective history’ is and how it ‘works’: Is it possible to write history of any sort in this way? Who are the actors, agents and subjects of collective history? What would be the methodologies of such a historiography? What role do objects of collective memory play in the production of collective history? Given that Walter Benjamin has conceived of architecture as being “always… consumed by a collective in a state of distraction,” we seek to understand how collective memory might be engaged with the collective writing of urban and architectural history itself.

This Conversation will take place with scholars who study collective historiography and memory in diverse ways. In a two-hour conversation, we hope to explore the relationship between architecture and collective memory in relation to the historian’s work—looking at how collective memory shapes the perception and production of architecture and of its recorded history.

Please contact Claire Zimmerman (zimclair@umich.edu) with questions regarding this event.