The Stones Cry Out: Modes of Citation in Medieval Architecture
International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017
Organized by Lindsay Cook (Columbia University) and Zachary Stewart (Fordham University)
Citation, understood in its earliest legal sense, refers not to the act of reiterating or to the act of repeating but rather to a formal
process of assembling parties separated by space and time. It is therefore best understood as a complex procedure for forging new
relationships between people, places, and things that, though highly structured, are by no means inherently stable.
Over the past several decades, a growing number of scholars – including, most notably, Wolfgang Schenkluhn, Hans-Joachim Kunst, Dieter Kimpel, Robert Suckale, Dany Sandron, and Arnaud Timbert – have examined, in explicit terms, the role of citation in architectural production during the Middle Ages. On the one hand, their work has been of great benefit to the field, demonstrating that citation is a productive paradigm for understanding the ways in which isomorphic relationships enable spatial environments to create, support, or subvert social orders. On the other hand, their work has also raised troubling questions about the capacity of buildings to convey meaning, assuming as it does that architecture, like language, functions as a coherent semiotic system. Vitruvius laid the groundwork for the application of this logocentric analogy to classical architecture, but does it necessarily obtain within all modes of architectural production, particularly those considered un- or anti-classical? What are the advantages or disadvantages of choosing citation – versus imitation, replication, appropriation, influence, or habit – as a discursive frame for studying the recurrence of formal elements within architectural ensembles? How does such a visually oriented method address issues of production, perception, technology, function, and value? How might it alter current accounts of the design, construction, and meaning of buildings modeled after famous precedents such as St. Peter’s in Rome, the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, or the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris?
This session invites papers that pursue these kinds of questions as they pertain to the diverse building cultures of the Middle Ages, West
and East, between c.300 to c.1500. Highly encouraged are contributions that investigate the stimuli for citation, the media that make it
possible, and the agents that make it productive. Especially welcome are papers involving case studies that consider the potential
volatility of architectural citation across cultures, regions, institutions, audiences, materials, architectural types, art-historical
styles, or chronological periods.
Contact Lindsay Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Zachary Stewart (email@example.com) to propose a 20-minute paper. Submissions must
include a title, a one-page abstract, a short CV, and a completed Participant Information Form (available here: