Call for Papers: European architectural space. Paris, 17 December 2018

Doctoral research day in Architectural History: “European architectural space: exchanges, circulations and cultural transfers”
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne Paris 1 / HiCSA – Galerie Colbert, 17 December 2018

In Europe, the circulation skills and ideas, already very intensive throughout the Middle Ages, kept intensifying over centuries. This process identified as “cultural transfers” at the end of the 20th century actively supports the progressive rise of shared architectural cultures, evolving through cultural crossing and hybridization phenomena. Therefore, it seems possible to define a “European space of architecture” based on these intensive exchanges over the continent.

The concept of cultural transfer, forged out of literary studies during the 1980’s, has been recently adapted to art history by various studies. Regarding the contemporary architectural research, the doctoral research day organized in Strasbourg in February 2018 mainly focused on the historiography. It was also the opportunity to recall the multiple aspects of this phenomenon, further questioning the legitimacy of “cultural transfers” as a modern construct, sometimes poorly adapted to the various realities it aims at covering.

Considering these latest studies, the doctoral research day of 17 December 2018 offers to redefine the concept of cultural transfers in the more specific frame of European architectural history. It aims at trying to single out this history as a determining conveyor for the construction of a European architectural space from the Middle Ages to nowadays. This implies to bring together several levels of analysis, from the study of these transfers’ dynamics to the questioning of the idea of the frontier itself as a barrier or a catalyst for exchange. The status of intercessors, who share their practices around them and participate into the spread of ideas and knowledge through various networks, is crucial. This discussion should also enable us to better identify the best places for the impulse and receiving of cultural transfers, gathering different realities from one period to the other. We should therefore consider the broader scopes conditioning this phenomenon – religious, political, ideological or economical – since it might voluntarily help to reinforce the dynamics of interaction and the sharing of models.

Abstracts can include questions such as the suggested following:

  1. Cultural transfers, the base of a European architectural space? The diversity of exchanges distinguishing a “Europe of flows”, inherent to the idea of “cultural transfers” themselves, seems to have led to the birth of a European architectural space. As examples, the topic of human circulations, through population migration for geopolitical or religious reasons, commercial exchanges, or individual travel seem very eloquent. These phenomena naturally contribute to the construction of meeting hubs and cultural mixing arising or declining over time, and this could very well be a case to further study.
  1. Prompted cultural transfers? One could also look at the acceleration of cultural transfers within more processed interactions, in a European frame aiming towards unity and looking for its own identity. It could also be an opportunity to insist on the exchange conveyors, and the voluntary mechanisms behind them. These being ideological, political, institutional, or part of other intellectual and pedagogical exchanges allowing the cultural assimilation we are looking at. Relationships with extra-European entities, sharing cultural dynamics with the old continent should not be neglected either.
  1. An opportunistic gaze on cultural transfers? Finally, it seems fair to remember that the rejection or the appropriation of cultural transfers can equally appear as one the driving forces to define identities in Europe. Studying their gradual exploitation or their opportunistic use therefore seems interesting. As an example, it could shed a new light on regionalist or nationalist ideals, conflicting the idea of a European architectural area in itself.

This doctoral research day is organized by Camille Lesouef, Pierre Coffy et Rafael-Florian Helfenstein, PhD candidates in Architectural History at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (HiCSA/ED 441 Histoire de l’art), under the scientific supervision of Professors Jean-Philippe Garric and Philippe Plagnieux.

Submission Guidelines. Abstracts should summarize, in French or English, in 2500-signs the arguments of the presentation, including its title, references and strengths. The official languages for the doctoral research day are French and English.

All proposals must be submitted by 31 July 2018 to : espacearchitecturaleuropeen@gmail.com

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