Inputs from Outside in the Field of History and Theory of Architecture (Guest Professor's Lecture)

Lecture (063-0806)
Organizer: Visiting Professor Brothers
Lecturers: C. Brothers, M. Delbeke, L. Stalder
Time: friday 14:00 - 16:00
Location: HCP E 47.1

Nationalism has cast a long shadow in the humanities, dividing disciplines along lines that often do not correspond to the most important boundaries of earlier eras, or even of our own. This course will aim to explore the Mediterranean, a region of great importance to trade, culture and politics over many centuries that continues to defy conventional academic and geographic categories. While Mediterranean studies were established by Fernand Braudel (in La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II, 1949) and have seen a revival of interest in the last decades, the course will aim to expand the existing discussion towards the inclusion of the built environment and cultural artifacts, and towards a consideration of the contemporary reverberations of the region’s history.

The course considers a range of buildings and landscapes from across the Mediterranean world, encompassing Italy, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, North Africa and Egypt. Its chronological and geographical scope are meant to bring into question some the conventional categories by which art and architectural history are studied: “Medieval,” “Renaissance,” “Italian,” “Islamic,” “Western,” etc. These categories tend to impose a particular narrative on history, suggesting that the Renaissance was a break with the middle ages, that Florence was the cultural center of Europe, and that the relation between European and Islamic societies could be manifest only through conflict. This course will attempt to resist this narrative, and to propose an alternative one based on the ideas of cultural interchange, rivalry, and appropriation. In considering this range of subject matter, emphasis will be placed on sites, cities, and monuments that show the traces of a layered or contested history.


Prof. Cammy Brothers