Call for Papers: Society of Architectural Historians, 2013–Modern Architecture and the Book

Assistant Professor Julia Walker will be co-chairing a panel at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Buffalo next year. Please see below for the call for papers. Full submission information can be found here.

Modern Architecture and the Book

Describing Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc’s Dictionary of French Architecture from the 11th to the 16th Century, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, “That book was enough to keep, in spite of architects, one’s faith alive in architecture.” Yet what was the nature of the architectural books produced in Wright’s own time, when faiths of all kinds were put to the test and when conventional media were under assault? How did architects and theorists reconcile the traditions of architectural literature with what they perceived as a wholly new social landscape, demanding both innovative built forms and novel modes of communication? What visual experience did they believe inhered in the form of the book that made it indispensable to the development of the new architecture?

This panel will investigate the use of the book to document, describe, promote, and critique modern architecture from its inception at the end of the nineteenth century to its alleged death in the late twentieth century. Despite the apparent conflict between modern design and the conservative traditions of bookmaking, publications from Antonio Sant’Elia’s Futurist Architecture to Nicolas Pevsner’s Pioneers of the Modern Movement to the Bauhausbücher sought to capture the dynamism of the modern visual experience. Making use of incipient visual technologies—in particular, photography—and new principles of typography and graphic design, these books not only taught their readers what counted as modern architecture, but also instructed them in how to look at it. Papers may address the ways in which authors transform the book format; how such publications experiment with the visual and cognitive processes of viewing a book; or the nature of the audiences they sought to reach.

Please send proposals/abstracts to:

Julia Walker, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Binghamton University;; and Pepper Stetler, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Miami University;

Proposals for papers due to session chairs by June 1, 2012.


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