71st Annual International Conference, Society of Architectural Historians, Saint Paul, Minnesota, April 18–22, 2018
The Society of Architectural Historians will host its 71st Annual International Conference in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from April 18–22, 2018. The Saint Paul conference will include 48 paper sessions that will draw architectural historians, art historians, architects, museum professionals, and preservationists from around the world together to present new research on the history of the built environment. In addition, roundtable discussions and architectural and landscape tours are being planned to enhance the overall program.
The 45 thematic sessions have been selected to cover topics across all time periods and architectural styles. SAH encourages submissions from architectural, landscape, and urban historians; museum curators; preservationists; independent scholars; architects; scholars in related fields; and members of SAH chapters and partner organizations.
Open sessions are available for those whose research does not match any of the themed sessions.
Some sessions that may be of interest to Byzantinists
A Matter of Life and Death: Spaces for Healing in the Premodern Era
The history of healthcare facilities, regardless of their scale and location, offers valuable insights into the priorities of health, science, and medicine within various civilizations. Whether constructed as part of monasteries in medieval Europe, Chinese palaces in fifteenth-century Beijing, or religious complexes in Ottoman Istanbul, healthcare spaces embodied both social and professional expectations for therapy, caring, and healing. The relationships between the architectural forms associated with healthcare and those of other buildings in the pre-modern era, such as religious buildings, bathhouses, almshouses, and schools reflected wider cultural attitudes towards healing.
This panel invites papers that examine structures and spaces created for healing in the pre-modern era. Submissions could clarify what constituted “health” at a given moment in time, how healthcare architecture responded to contextual issues and traditions, or how the scientific and social/cultural context influenced its design. Papers may focus on a single structure, specialized typologies (e.g., mental health facilities), complexes in a particular city or region, or any other topic relevant to the historical presence of healthcare facilities.
The Papers could also explore the formation of hospitals as an independent building typology; the impact of medical advances on the design of hospitals from various times and geographies; the integration of gardens/outdoor spaces in the design of hospitals; the connections between urban design and healthcare facilities; the involvement of non-architects in the design or construction processes; cross-cultural exchanges on healthcare; the impact of medical training on healthcare architecture; the evolution of interior design responses to medical developments; stylistic connections between hospitals and other building types; the development of specialized hospitals; and the ways in which cultural norms of race, gender, and class shaped healthcare design. We welcome submissions that deploy interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the analysis of healthcare facilities.
Session Chairs: Mohammad Gharipour, Morgan State University, and Stuart W. Leslie, The Johns Hopkins University
Constructing Memory in Ancient and Pre-Modern Architecture
In 2 BCE, the Forum of Augustus was dedicated in Rome with much fanfare. An innovative feature of the large and lavish complex was the application of exact copies of the caryatids from the Erechtheum in Athens, multiplied and employed as mere architectural decoration above the forum’s lateral porticoes. The fifth century BCE buildings of the Athenian Acropolis were well known throughout the ancient world. However, for elite Roman viewers—especially men, who conventionally travelled to Athens for a traditional education—their reproduction in the new political heart of Rome was designed to evoke specific memories of Classical Athens, to proclaim Rome’s now-total dominance over the Greek world, and to explicitly compare Augustan Rome to Periclean Athens.
Over the past fifteen years, a renewed interest in the role of ‘social’ or ‘collective’ memory, first outlined by Maurice Halbwachs in 1925, has led to a so-called “memory boom,” as Jay Winter put it, in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. For the study of the ancient world, this “boom” has focused largely on literature, sculpture, monuments, or public space. This session seeks to expand the discussion with papers that investigate how architecture created or reinforced collective memory. It aims to incorporate topics that cover a wide chronological range—from Antiquity to the Pre-Modern period—and geographical scope to question how the manipulation of memory by architects and patrons varied through time and space. Proposals that present unique methodological frameworks, address the topic of memory within broad and multi-format contexts, and discuss Ancient and/or Pre-Modern viewers are preferred. Proposals with trans- and interdisciplinary approaches are especially welcome, as well as those with innovative theoretical perspectives on the role of memory and neuroscience in the interpretation of architecture.
Session Chair: Anne Hrychuk Kontokosta, New York University
Medieval Structures, Digital Tools, and Architectural Knowledge
Digital humanities are becoming increasingly important for both architectural education and research. This session aims to highlight the potentials of digital tools and methods for advanced studies of medieval architecture—conceived broadly in time and region—and in particular, the use of non-invasive, computer-based technologies such as laser scanning, interactive visualizations, and spatial modeling. These methods allow for rapid and detailed imaging of architectural space and its temporal alternations, and are particularly valuable for architectural study of medieval structures because we frequently lack textual sources about their creation, their changes over time, and the training of their architects.
Papers may include the investigations of multiple media such as animations, video, and interactive websites in order to explore the communication and comprehension of research in medieval architecture. Papers that address the possibilities of computational and digital tools—beyond imaging and spatial modeling for documentation purposes—and include important questions on concepts of sophisticated structural designs and technologies used in medieval architecture are especially welcome. Topics may include potentially controversial themes that confront the transfer of architectural knowledge in medieval times that can be revealed through parametric research of medieval structures themselves, on one hand, and through traditional methods of architectural histories, on the other. Papers may investigate the prospect of combining computational methods and historiography of medieval architecture to reveal the existence of larger networks of knowledge transfer across times, disciplines, and cultures. Participants are also encouraged to engage in a discussion about the latest developments in digital technologies and humanities, and to question the accuracy, limits, and potentials of emerging methods of studying the history of medieval architecture as well as whether and how these developments raise new questions for future studies of architecture.
Session Chair: Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University