This session aims to put into question the concept of “development” by focusing on the post-WWII exchanges of architectural knowledge between the “peripheries” struggling for alternative scenarios of modernization rather than subscribing to one model promoted by the centres: the United States or the Soviet Union. Even if this period cannot be understood without accounting for the Cold War polarities, this session challenges the reduction of postwar architecture and planning practices to the US or Soviet political domination and postulates a more differentiated view on alliances among professionals from modernizing countries away from central hubs.
Focused on post-colonial modernization and nation-building processes, this session will review global knowledge exchange from the 1950s to the 1980s in order to unpack and expand the concept of “development.” With possible case studies including Yugoslav architects working in Nigeria, Israeli architects delivering projects in Iran and Tanzania, or Polish planners designing cities in Iraq, this session will address networks of professional knowledge transfer in order to offer a differentiated view on the agency of experts serving their countries as much as their own professional and personal goals.
How and on what institutional bases have professional networks been set? How did they mediate local nuances of geopolitical contexts within the postwar global division of architectural labour and the flows of “development aid”? What were the interactions between such networks and governmental organizations, educational systems, and local communities? How did competition and cooperation between professionals affect the production of new architectural knowledge? In what ways did global knowledge transfer influence and challenge architecture practices and discourses of post-WWII modernisms?
The focus on global knowledge exchange draws attention to the role of architecture and architects in world affairs: while this session challenges the historically entrenched vision of architecture knowledge flow from “developed” to “developing” countries, it also affirms a very contemporary call for contextual cosmopolitism and rooted universalism.
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent directly to the session chairs. Abstracts are to be headed with the applicant’s name, professional affiliation [graduate students in brackets], and title of paper or position. Submit with the abstract a short curriculum vitae, home and work addresses, email addresses, telephone and fax numbers. For details, please consult: www.eahn2012.org
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