Deeper History Forum

Deeper History: Contemporary Considerations of Architecture's Long Past is an symposium and tribute to HTC/MIT’s investment in histories of architecture and the arts before modernism announced itself. Emblematized by the neo-classicism of MIT’s main campus, MIT -- and HTC within it – balance the drive for cutting-edge theory and innovation with a commitment to a more distant past, from Hank Millon's teaching of Parthenic metopes, to Nasser Rabbat’s exploration of medieval domes, to Mark Jarzombek’s research into “prehistoric” architecture and engineering, to David Friedman’s investigations of Renaissance urbanism. With “Deeper History,” we renew our commitment to understanding the methods, cultures and “commodious architectures” of the past, and our continuing involvement with its historiographies and reinterpretations.

Presented and hosted by HTC (History Theory and Criticism), MIT Department of Architecture


9:00 - 10:30     Drawing on the Renaissance
Presenters:  Razan Francis, Jordan Kauffman, John López
Caroline Jones, moderator


11:00 – 12:30   Historical Consequences I
Presenters:  Hilary Ballon, Joseph Siry, Danilo Udovicki-Selb
Gail Fenske, moderator

          lunch break

1:30 – 2:45      Historical Consequences II
Presenters: Thomas Beischer, Edward Eigen, Hadas Steiner
Nasser Rabbat, moderator


3:00 – 4:45      Interpreting the Renaissance
Presenters: Christy Anderson, Jesús Escobar, Carla Keyvanian, Katherine Wheeler
Janna Israel, moderator


4:50 – 6:00      In conversation: Henry A. Millon and David H. Friedman
Mark Jarzombek, moderator


PARTICIPANT BIOS (in program order)
Razan Francis, Jordan Kauffman, and John López are PhD Candidates in the History of Architecture degree program at MIT. Lopez's research interests are pre-Columbian architecture in Mesoamerica and its historiography, and colonial city planning, architecture, engineering, administrative history, and artistic negotiations and entanglements between Spaniards and Indians. His projected dissertation title is "The Hydrographic City: Mapping Mexico City’s Urban Form in Relation to its Aquatic Condition, 1521-1700." Kauffman's research areas are aesthetic philosophy and modes of representation. His projected dissertation title is "Drawing on Architecture: The Socioaesthetics of Architectural Drawing, 1964-1990." Francis's research areas are medieval Arabic Spain, the power and concept of imagination, and the relationship between Arabic and Western cultures. Her projected dissertation title is "Secrets of The Arts: Enlightenment Spain’s Contested Islamic Craft Heritage."

Caroline A. Jones is Professor of Art History in the Department of Architecture at MIT. Her research interests are modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on its technological modes of production, distribution, and reception.

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Hilary Ballon is University Professor Deputy Vice Chancellor, NYU Abu Dhabi Professor of Urban Studies & Architecture, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service New York University. Her research focuses on cities and the intersection of architecture, politics, and social life in two fields of research, 20th-century America (in particular, New York City) and 17th-century Europe (in particular, Paris).

Joseph M. Siry, PhD '1984, is the Chair of the Art and Art history Department and Professor of Modern Architectural History at Wesleyan University. His research interests are modern and American architectural and urban history.

Danilo Udovicki-Selb, PhD '1995, is Associate Professor, School of Architecture, University of Texas, Austin, Texas. His research interests are: critical history of 20th-century architecture, Soviet architecture 1917-1937, modernism in France 1920s-1930s, and Italian architecture 1400-1600.

Gail Fenske, SMArchS '1982, PhD '1988, is Professor of Architecture at Roger Williams University. Her research interests comprise late 19th- and early 20th-century architecture and planning, and “regionalism” in American architecture, art, and visual culture during the 1930s.

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Thomas Beischer, PhD '2004, is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the California College of the Arts and a Lecturer in Architectural History in the Urban Studies program at Stanford University. His research interests range from 19th-century architecture to contemporary Asian art.

Edward Eigen, PhD '2000, is Associate Professor of Architecture and Landscape, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His research interests include the intersections of the human and natural sciences with architecture in the nineteenth century.

Hadas Steiner, PhD '2001, is Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, at the University at Buffalo-SUNY. Her research concentrates on the cross-pollinations of technological and cultural aspects of architectural fabrication in the postwar period.

Nasser Rabbat, PhD '1991, is Aga Khan Professor and the Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture in the Department of Architecture at MIT. His research interests include the history and historiography of Islamic architecture, art, and cultures, urban history, and post-colonial criticism.

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Christy Anderson, PhD '1993, is Associate Professor, Fine Arts Department, at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include: Renaissance and Baroque architecture, English art, architecture and the emotional life, contemporary architectural theory, and architecture and literature.

Jesús Escobar is Associate Professor, Department of Art History, in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. His research interests are art, architecture, and urbanism of early modern Spain, Italy, and the Spanish world.

Carla Keyvanian, SMArchS '1992, PhD '2000, is Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, at Auburn University. Her research interests include: Renaissance architecture and city development and Islamic architecture and urbanism.

Katherine Wheeler, PhD '2007, is Assistant Professor, School of Architecture at the University of Miami. Her research interests are 1800-1950 European architecture, and architectural drawing and representation.

Janna Israel, PhD '2007, is Assistant Professor, Art History Department, at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests are the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance, and early modern metallurgy.

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Henry A. Millon, one of the founders of the HTC Program in the Department of Architecture, is Dean Emeritus of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery, Washington, DC. His research interests are architecural drawings of the 15th to 17th centuries.

David H. Friedman is Associate Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture at MIT. His research interests are urbanism in pre-modern Europe; late medieval and Renaissance architecture.

Mark Jarzombek, PhD '1986, is Associate Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning and Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture in the Department of Architecture. His research interests are nineteenth and twentieth century aesthetics, and the history and theory of global architecture.