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Special Collection

Marxism and Architectural Theory across the East-West Divide

Collection launched: 15 Oct 2019

Architectural theory as we know it today is thoroughly informed by Western, Neo-Marxist theories. But throughout history Marxism has influenced architectural thinking in many more ways than just through this particular and well known intellectual trajectory. Its multiple trajectories crisscrossed the political boundaries created by world history and distinct forms of Marxist architectural theory were being articulated in the countries where Orthodox Marxism was the foundation of political theory or where Marxism inspired revolutionary or post-colonial struggles.

This Special Collection thus asks about architectural theory and its Marxist imprint in the Second and Third World in the decades of the 1950s through the 1980s, investigating the interconnections between these different countries and traditions and unravelling entanglements with versions of postcolonial or anti-imperialist theories. It offers a first exploration of these issues, aiming at a preliminary inventory of what was going on where and who were some of the key figures. It thus offers necessary ground work for what later could become a more precise mapping of the worldwide impact of Marxist thinking on architectural discourse.

Guest Editors: Hilde Heynen & Sebastiaan Loosen

Image credit: Still from ‘Tatlin’s Tower’, Takehiko Nagakura’s Unbuilt Monuments series,1999. Reproduced from Philip Jodidio, Architecture Now! (Cologne: Taschen, 2001), 430.