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Special Collection

On the meaning of 'Europe' for Architectural History

Collection launched: 13 Jun 2018

This collection explores the inextricable ties between knowledge and geopolitics, asking what is the role that the idea, legacy and institutions of Europe play within the new distributions of global power, and how it currently affects the production of architectural knowledge. Authors were asked: first, to probe the relationship between the geopolitics of disciplinary organizations and the creation and dissemination of knowledge in our field; second, to locate 'Europe'—the hitherto primary site of architectural historiography—within the shifting geographies of architectural narratives; and third, to question the position of 'Europe' in the geopolitics of academia.


Following an editorial that introduces the issues at stake, field notes present a roundtable discussion of 1) the historiography of European architectural history in the aftermath of the former Three Worlds and 2) the institutional perspective on the 'European' designation of the EAHN. Four position papers follow. The first questions the epistemological position underlying the roundtable, suggesting an alternative historiography. Thereafter, in the light of European identity, three authors present specific historical case studies in the East Bloc, Turkey, and South Africa respectively. Each of these papers challenges the assumption of a diminishing European power by invoking the ways in which the idea of Europe continues to live in people's imagination.


Guest editors: Alona Nitzan-Shiftan and Nancy Stieber