Research Methods in the History and Theory of Architecture

Doctoral Seminar (064-0014-20)
Organizer: Doctoral Program
Lecturers: Dr. Irina Davidovici
Time: FS20, Thursday, 10.00-12.00
Location: HIL E 29.2


Course description
The seminars aim to prepare the doctoral students for their Research Plan submission at the end of their first year, offering a forum for exchanges, presentations and peer reviews of research strategies. The format allows for weekly group discussions on a variety of topics. Students are encouraged to consider the course readings not only in terms of their content, but also as illustrations of formatting, structuring and argumentation methods, and thus research models. There are four types of seminar classes. Toolkit classes focus on the individual components of the Research Plan: abstract, hypothesis, literature survey, research structure etc. Method classes cover research strategies and disciplinary traditions relevant for doctoral studies in the history and theory of architecture. Theory seminars focus on specific intellectual traditions and their comparison. The Review sessions, leading up to the end-of-semester doctoral crits, comprise work-in-progress presentations and peer-review appraisals in formal and informal settings.

Aims and Objectives
The course will train skills of critical analysis and interpretation – of architecture and scholarship in equal measure, connecting buildings and architectural representations to theoretical productions. The study texts illustrate foundational models for architectural research and related disciplines in the humanities, including history, sociology, critical theory and material culture studies. The seminars are specifically aimed at the preparation of research plans, honing analytical and interpretative skills.

The weekly classes are scheduled in the attached programme. Please note: No classes on March 19 (Seminar Week), April 16 (Easter Break), April 30 (SAH Conference) and May 21 (Ascension).

Related events
March 25, 2020: gta Invites lecture Prof. Stephan Trüby
May 12, 2020: gta doctoral workshop The Architecture of Research 4
May 19, 2020: Schwerpunkte doctoral colloquium organised by gta and ITA with guests Joan Ockman and Mark Jarzombek
May 28, 2020: gta Doctoral Crits FS 2020


Toolkit: Introduction and course overview (February 20, 202 )
  • From itch to book: Notes on the doctoral project
  • Your Research Plan: Questions, hypotheses, literature review

Method: Historical research and strategies (February 27, 2020)

Theory: Subaltern Studies (in connection with Parity Talks V) (March 5, 2020)
  • Donna Haraway, ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’, 1975
  • Nancy Fraser, ‘Rethinking the Public Sphere’, 1990
  • Ranajit Guha, ‘A Dominance without Hegemony’, 1997