Historiography Get It Right!

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Yes, histories of architecture do produce traditions: the styles associated with specific periods, the connections made between tendencies, and a particular group of architects. Above all, historians’ conjectures are construed and constructed in the delusion that they can capture the Zeitgeist. Nevertheless, should this ever-growing body of work be taken for History? To what extent does a text on the past approximate History? More specifically, what is the intersection between History and histories of architecture? Not every work concerned with past architecture is categorically historical, especially those written in the last twenty years. With the recent demise of Theory, at least in architectural praxis, the decline of which was foreshadowed by the death of Jacques Derrida, proper binaries such as history and theory, history and criticism have lost their visibility, smoothing the way for the prevailing textuality. This turn of events is coterminous with disseminating contemporary digital networks engineered by global capitalism. Rather than claiming “the death of history,” the question is in what capacity architectural history indexes History beyond contingencies without reducing the text to empirical realities, including those collected through archival research.
To go beyond “reportage” and “textuality,” the two unconscious dimensions of contemporary history writing, we should recall the past accurately. Manfredo Tafuri, for one, said it all: there is no criticism but history. We argue that there is no history but historical criticism. In this sense, the non-contemporaneity implied in the dialectics of past and present plays a crucial role that, like a detective, the historian should seek clues lost in between fragments of collected facts, subjective and objective. To be critically influential, the historiography of architecture should organize and interpret facts and ideas, taking into account the specific traditions established by the mole of History. We invite papers that respond to the provocations framed above and that investigate critical strategies in architectural historiography with a focus on one of these topics: heritage and the past present, monumentality and the past frozen, landscape and the everlasting, historical time and temporality, and contemporaneity of architecture and history.
Period17 Jun 2022
Event typeConference
LocationMadrid, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational