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Department of



Social Formations

Social Formations of Architecture and Urbanization: Histories and Theories

This area of study is focused on the understanding and interpretation of architecture and urbanization within the larger social formations in which they are embedded. Our research is informed by a wide range of theoretical positions and methodological approaches, including studies of space and spatiality, critical theory, political geography, postcolonial theory, feminism, anthropology and cultural studies. We study architecture and urbanization as existing within a dynamic, mutually constitutive relationship with the social, the cultural, the political, the economic and the ecological. We are especially interested in architecture’s entanglement with different political ideologies, including those of liberalism, neoliberalism, Marxism, capitalism, communism, and nationalism. Faculty in this area are widely recognized through their research, curatorial work, international lecturing, and publications, covering a range of topics, including histories of urbanization, critical theories of architecture, historical studies of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, and histories of global socialism and the socialist city. With all its variety, our research nevertheless converges around a few common themes. One concerns the problems of housing and urbanization on a planetary scale, engaging a range of methods—from empirical and practice-based, to theoretical and historical. Another point of convergence is the architectural and urban history of Central and Eastern Europe, from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century.

Keywords: Architecture, Architectural History, Housing, Urbanization, Urbanism, Globalization, Ideology, Political Economy, Urban Political Ecology, Social formations, Critical Theory, Post-colonial theory

Faculty: Jelena Bogdanovic, Vladimir Kulić, Mikesch Muecke, Lynn Paxson, Douglas Spencer, Sharon Wohl, Kimberly Zarecor