Advanced Study in Critical Theory of Architecture: Architecture and the Political Economy of Development

Permission of instructor

Advanced seminar. Looks at architecture and planning doctrines in what has come to be known as the “development decades,” the high period of state intervention into so-called Third World economies under the aegis of the Bretton Woods exchange system (c. 1945-1971), followed by its aftermath in the dismantlement and restructuring of state power to aid so-called “privatization” and austerity doctrines. The course will take up various components that intersected with architectural thinking in this era of development: land and tenure, infrastructure, housing, finance, administration, relating them to influential economic doctrines of the time as well as the ideological tendencies of governments in the Third World. Particular attention will be paid to the circuit of technocratic “experts” patronized by the Bretton Woods organizations as well as the neocolonial politics of foreign aid. Particular attention will be paid to how architects and related experts on questions of space responded to the bureaucratic and institutional frameworks of international and national development, and the sundry “clubs (Paris, Rome), think-tanks, consultancy mechanisms, as well as elite university-based forms of expertise that were entangled in these circuits. Also of interest is the intersection, in the course of these engagements, of the latter history of architectural modernism with the social sciences, from anthropology, econometrics to systems theory, etc. Comparisons with American and European (“Northern”) examples of space and city planning and mechanisms (instruments such as location theory, zoning, etc.) will be elicited to highlight key structures of comparison, contrast, or influence. . Requires original research and presentation of oral and written report.