Society of Architectural Historians
Finding rigorous ways to account for the nonvisual senses has increasingly become an important priority for architectural history. In recent years, curators of museums and historic buildings have begun to explore new ways to evoke the sensory experiences of people in the past. Ongoing shifts in architectural media continue to overturn many of the visualist assumptions associated with hand drawing, printed books, and analog photography. In dialogue with these developments, new approaches in the history and anthropology of the senses have advanced scholarship on architecture and sensation well beyond the assumptions of early phenomenological writers.
This conversation explores emerging methods and strategies for considering sensory experience in scholarship on buildings and cities. Is it possible to write an experientialist history without insisting upon a single universal standpoint? How might historians compensate for the visual media that we overwhelmingly rely upon to study the built environment? What can architectural research contribute to the history of mentalities? To answer these questions, the discussion will consider how scholars are reworking earlier historiographic models and bringing them into dialogue with actor-network theory, sound studies, and other newer areas of research. We will discuss how these approaches have not only spurred the development of experimental research methods but also destabilized and expanded the architectural canon by prompting fresh accounts of historic buildings and cities.
- Niall Atkinson, University of Chicago
- Joseph L. Clarke, University of Toronto
- David Karmon, Holy Cross
- Bissera V. Pentcheva, Stanford University
- Mark Smith, University of South Carolina
This program will be recorded and video will be available after the event. Register for the event here.