Associate Professor Tom McDonough in conversation with artist Tony Cokes

On Saturday, April 27, Tom McDonough and post-Conceptual artist Tony Cokes discussed Cokes’s practice at The 8th Floor in New York, addressing several of his text-based videos currently on view in the exhibition Revolution from Without…. Drawing from sources including journalism, critical and cultural theory, popular music, and propaganda, Cokes edits and decontructs language to make visible what we suspect has been strategically removed from circulation.

Faculty Activities: Julia Walker at the Society of Architectural Historians

Assistant Professor Julia Walker will be presenting a paper this Friday, April 26, as part of the panel Agora to RiverFire: Landscapes Histories of the Public Realm at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Providence, RI.

Parades, Conventions, Rallies: Public Space and the Politics of Suffrage in New York State

In the United States, the turn of the twentieth century witnessed significant changes in the status of women in public space. Specific concern in this paper is the way in which women active in the suffrage movement in New York State made canny use of public space, using their new visibility in innovative ways specific both to their cause and to their time. By appearing en masse outside the private sphere, and by harnessing the power of new visual technologies like photography and film, these women inverted traditional regimes of surveillance and spatial control. Suffragists thus enacted what Jacques Rancière defines as “politics”—when “the natural order of domination is interrupted by the institution of a part of those who have no part.” For Rancière, politics is opposed to governance or rule, which he describes as “policing.” Instead, politics creates a state of indeterminacy that productively destabilizes authority. With its public squares, its streets and street walls, and its emphasis on community meeting places, I argue that the American city itself enabled this indeterminacy.

Drawing on work by scholars of gender and urbanism, this paper examines this new politics of public space. It also makes use of primary sources that have been discovered in conjunction with celebrations of the New York State suffrage centennial. Together with local and state organizations, architectural historians have been working to reveal this important history. Recent events include the city of Binghamton’s reenactment of its own significant suffrage parade and the landmarking of new sites on the “Suffrage Trail,” including the Centenary Methodist Church in Binghamton, where the state held its annual suffrage convention in 1913, and the Old Village Hall in the township of Lisle, where Florence Chauncey cast the first vote by a woman in New York State on January 5, 1918.


Assistant Professor Julia Walker interviewed on local TV news about Notre Dame fire

BU Professor Weighs in on Notre Dame Restoration

VESTAL, N.Y. –The world watched as Notre Dame, one of the world’s most well known architectural feats, burned. Though things like the roof and spire were lost amid the flames, Julia Walker, an Assistant Professor of Art History at Binghamton University believes much of the cathedral and its relics can be preserved and reconstructed.

“The preservation tactic of recent history is to show the damage, to sort of use the building as a record of history to teach viewers about history itself, to highlight the distinction between old fabric and new fabric,” said Walker. “The roof can be constructed anew and the cathedral will very much maintain its identity as the heart of Paris, the heart of French identity, and the very Catholic identity as well.”

The roof, made of medieval wood, is impossible to replace, but rebuilding a new one will be easy. The question is, how similar to make the newly constructed cathedral compared to its historic counterpart.

“It challenges authenticity,” said Walker. “It provides a lot of anxiety for a lot of people.”

Many of the artifacts inside are already being moved to the Louvre and governmental buildings. The organ made up of eight thousand pipes, some of the stained glass, and the altar were saved. Walker attributes that to the stone foundation, which provided protection for much of the building.

“The building was designed the way many Gothic cathedrals around Europe were, to withstand fire,” said Walker. “This is an example of architecture doing what it was meant to do.”