Open Histories of Time

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    Starting with the question concerning the discursive formation of architectural history, this essay explores the role of time as the agent of critical historiography. I will make an attempt to underline the ways in which architectural history differs from the traditions of art history. Even though the discourse of art history has transformed during the last three decades, its traditional influence on architectural historiography has not yet diminished. I will also discuss the particulars of what might be called the subject matter of architectural history, and its capacity to problematize the autonomy of text, that is, the historiographic narrative. This second point is important because the theme of autonomy was celebrated through a synchronic understanding of time popularized by both structuralism and post-structuralism, to mention two discourses that were influential in the battle over history that took place during the 1960s. Thirdly, fundamental to any argument addressing the historicity of architectural history is the issue of periodization, the discussion of which involves the following: under what circumstances throughout modernity is it possible to establish a point as the beginning of a style, later to be replaced by another one? What most contemporary “isms” in architecture accomplish is to put a linear succession in order. What periodization does is to distinguish a before and an after, if only to avoid the risk of repetition, transformation, or even permutation. In investigating these three ideas the intention is not to formulate a new methodological approach to architectural history. The aim is rather to map the scope of criticality emerging out of the very historicity of architecture’s rapport with capitalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand 30, Open
    EditorsAlexandra Brown, Andrew Leach
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)9780987605504
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventSAHANZ 2013 - Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Duration: 2 Jul 20135 Jul 2013


    ConferenceSAHANZ 2013


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