African Architecture as Muse - Call for Papers

As often as scholars and critics posit architecture as a tabula rasa—a canvas upon which one projects the personal, the psychological and the political—relatively few have seriously considered the many ways that African architecture and its representation function in such frameworks. Yet from travel guides to postage stamps, from World’s Fairs to films, from government buildings to contemporary art installations and more, Africans and non-Africans alike have called upon African architecture and its representation to address a myriad of concerns. Some 19th-century travelers viewed African structures as a barometer that measured how high a people had climbed on the great ladder of civilization. In his 1928 book, simply titled “Art,” Amédée Ozenfant invoked African architecture to address the development of the built environment in the West. In 1965, Eduard Sekler understood the Mousgoum dome as articulating a nearly perfect tectonic statement. In 1985, Cameroonian scholars insisted that the deployment of indigenous domestic forms was key to forging a national architecture, one that could compete with the best of the West.
This panel seeks papers that examine how African architecture and its representation have been utilized —at home and/or away—as a muse, as something that opens onto issues other than the thing itself. Topics might include, but are not limited to, the relationship of the African built environment to the articulation of “diaspora,” the role of African architecture in the construction of heritage and tourism, the place of African buildings in the world of travelogues, or the use of African forms to proclaim national and nationalist identities on the continent.
Session chair: Steven Nelson, Associate Professor of African and African American Art History, Department of Art History, UCLA; 310-825-2322;
All abstracts must be submitted online by June 1, 2011.  More

15.04.2011 | par franciscabagulho | African Architecture