Rethinking Global Modernism
Architectural Historiography and the Postcolonial
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This anthology collects developing scholarship on modernism that outlines a new decentred history of global modernism in architecture using postcolonial and other related theoretical frameworks.
By both revisiting the canons of modernism and seeking to decolonize and globalize that canon, the volume explores what a genuinely "global" history of architectural modernism might begin to look like. Its chapters explore the historiography and weaknesses of modernism's normative interpretations and propose alternatives to them. The collection offers essays that interrogate transnationalism in new ways, reconsiders the agency of the subaltern, and the roles played by infrastructures, materials, and global institutions in propagating a diversity of modernisms internationally. Issues such as colonial modernism, architectural pedagogy, cultural imperialism, and spirituality are engaged.
With essays from both established scholars and up-and-coming researchers, this is an important reference for a new understanding of this crucial and developing topic.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Global Modernism and the Postcolonial
Vikramaditya Prakash, Maristella Casciato, and Daniel E. Coslett
PART I: Critiques of Normative Modernist Narratives
Chapter 2. "Weak" Modernism: Managing the Threat of Brazil’s Modern Architecture at
Patricio del Real
Chapter 3. Enchanted Transfers: MoMA’s Japanese Exhibition House and the Secular
Occlusion of Modernism
María González Pendás
Chapter 4. Competing Modernities: Socialist Architecture’s Challenge to the Global
Chapter 5. Architecture in the 1990s, the Mies van der Rohe Prize, and the Creation of the
Civilization Industrial Complex
PART II: New Theoretical Frameworks for Thinking Global Modernism
Chapter 6. An Architecture Culture of "Contact Zones": Prospects for an Alternative Historiography of Modernism
Tom Avermaete and Cathelijne Nuijsink
Chapter 7. Intra-action: Barad’s "Agential Realism" and Modernism
Chapter 8. Layered Networks: Beyond the Local and the Global in Postcolonial Modernism
PART III: Modernism and (Trans)Nationalism
Chapter 9. Uneven Modernities: Rabindranth Tagore and the Bauhaus
Chapter 10. Unbuilt Iran: Modernism’s Counterproposal in Alvar Aalto’s Museum of Modern Art in Shiraz
Shima Mohajeri and Parsa Khalili
Chapter 11. Representing Landscape, Mediating Wetness: Louis Kahn at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar (East Pakistan/Bangladesh)
PART IV: Rethinking Agency in Modernism
Chapter 12. Domestic Funk: Favelados of the Global North
Chapter 13. CINVA to Siyabuswa: The Unruly Path of Global Self-help Housing
Hannah le Roux
Chapter 14. Subaltern-Diasporic Histories of Modernism: Working on Australia’s "Snowy Scheme"
PART V: Infrastructures and Materials Cultures of Global Modernism
Chapter 15. The Politics of Concrete: Material Culture, Global Modernism, and the Project of Decolonization in India
Chapter 16. Jane Drew in Lagos: Carbonization after Colonization at BP House, 1960
Daniel A. Barber
Chapter 17. Provincializing ENI’s Disegno Africano: Agip Tanzania and the Agip Motel in
Dar es Salaam
Chapter 18. The Politics of Circulation: Cinema Architecture in Colonial Morocco
Chapter 19. Massive Urbanization and the Circulation of Eventualities
Vikramaditya Prakash is an architect and an architectural historian and theorist. He is a professor of architecture and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle. Prakash is the host of the ArchitectureTalk podcast and co-design lead at the Office of Uncertainty Research. His recent books include Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (edited with Peter Scriver) (Routledge, 2007), The Architecture of Shivdatt Sharma and Chandigarh: An Architectural Guide (Mapin, 2012), and One Continuous Line: Art, Architecture and Urbanism of Aditya Prakash (Mapin, 2021).
Maristella Casciato is an architect and architectural historian and is Senior Curator of Architecture at the Getty Research Institute (since 2016). She was Mellon Senior Fellow at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal (2010) prior to being appointed Associate Director of Research at the same institute (2012–15). She has taught the history of architecture in Italy and in the United States. Since the late 1990s she has been engaged in a research project on Pierre Jeanneret and the planning of Chandigarh in postcolonial India. On this topic she has curated a few exhibitions and contributed to the publication of catalogues and essays.
Daniel E. Coslett is a scholar of colonial and postcolonial architecture and urbanism whose work addresses the intersections of architecture and urban planning, preservation, archaeology, and tourism in North Africa. He received a PhD in the history and theory of built environments from the University of Washington and an MA in the subject from Cornell University. Coslett has taught art and architectural history at Western Washington University and the University of Washington. His edited volume entitled Neocolonialism and Built Heritage: Echoes of Empire in Africa, Asia, and Europe (Routledge) was published in 2020. He is an associate editor at the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.