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HTC Book Celebration October 2018

This month, five MIT Alumni Authors celebrated their recently published books based on their PhD dissertations in the History, Theory and Criticism program in the Department of Architecture. 

Lucia Allais, Zeynep Celik, Fabiola Lopez-Duran, Jordan Kauffman, and Michael Osman gathered with current HTC Faculty and students to mark this occasion. 

Remarks from our current HTC students:

*” Designs of Destruction tells the story of international bureaucracy centered around monuments through its seamless narrative cutting across geographies and temporalities. The arguments are structured through five chapters with an introduction and a coda aptly titled 'viscosities'. Viscosity means “the state of being sticky due to internal conflict”. It is this sticky, stubborn internal conflict of the making of global heritage that Allais’s chronicle brings to life. As the five chapters investigate the intricate connections between politics and the making of monuments, Allais coins new terms such as “cultural technique” and skillfully weaves a narrative that requires absolutely no convincing of the legitimacy of its carefully picked evidences. If your one question is what is a monument, ‘Designs of Destruction’ has the answer.”--Sridipta Ghatak, SMarchS

*In this bookZeynep Celik Alexander offers the first major intellectual history of kinaesthetic knowing and its influence on the formation of modern art and architecture and especially modern design education. Focusing in particular on Germany and tracing the story up to the start of World War II, Alexander reveals the tension between intellectual meditation and immediate experience to be at the heart of the modern discourse of aesthetics, playing a major part in the artistic and teaching practices of numerous key figures of the period, including Heinrich Wölfflin, Hermann Obrist, August Endell, László Moholy-Nagy, and many others. Ultimately, she shows, kinaesthetic knowing did not become the foundation of the human sciences, as some of its advocates had hoped, but it did lay the groundwork—at such institutions as the Bauhaus—for modern art and architecture in the twentieth century. --from the publisher (University of Chicago Press)

*"A true product of HTC, Fabiola López-Durán's first book, Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity, is representative of the masterful histories that emerge from the convergence of architecture, urbanism and landscape design with studies of science, technology and society. Fabiola analyzes medical and architectural reports, blueprints, photographs, periodicals, and a wealth of archival material in France and throughout Latin America, to rupture the clean, white lines of twentieth-century modernism, exposing the primary role of a strain of environment-centered eugenics, in the construction, surveillance, and maintenance of modernity. As the first in-depth interrogation of the deeply rooted connections between social engineering, the built environment, and modernity, Eugenics in the Garden is, undoubtedly, a significant contribution to the history of architecture. It is also, importantly, a history that feels eerily relevant at a moment when issues of gentrification, immigration, white nationalism, and gender and racial differentiation, are at the forefront of political discourse.- Roxanne Goldberg, PhD

*”Jordan Kaufmann’s book Drawing on Architecture: The Object of Lines, 1970-1990, is an illuminating account of the networked mechanisms, cultural institutions, galleries and individuals, which played a constituting role in the establishment and transformation of architectural drawings into desired art objects. His straight-forward approach provides the reader with a detailed and illustrative yet-to-be-told history, which both challenges previous scholarship of this period, as well as fills in a substantial gap in one of the most meaningful moments in recent architectural history and discourse. Jordan’s work, with great clarity and precision, establishes the ways in which drawings have become important testimonials to a productive period, unlike any other before or after it, and how the discourse, thought and production of architecture has fundamentally changed.”Eli Keller, PhD 

*"Michael Osman's new book Modernism's Visible Hand is an architectural history of regulatory thinking in America that highlights Modernization's relationship to the structuring of knowledge in the 20th century. This urgent book calls into question much of what we know about the formation of categories like 'biological' and 'machine' which today determine how we approach all technological questions." Courtney Lesoon, PhD