The Gift of Architecture: Spaces of Global Socialism and their Afterlives

June 13-14, 2022
The University of Manchester, Manchester,
UK and Online

During the Cold War, the gifting of architecture was among the most visible manifestations of global socialism, or the multiple, evolving and often contradictory exchanges between the socialist countries and the decolonising world. In collaboration with local actors, Soviet, Eastern European and Chinese institutions designed, constructed and equipped hundreds of buildings for education, health, culture, industry and habitation in Ethiopia, Guinea, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mongolia, Tanzania, Vietnam and elsewhere. This conference will gather architectural historians and anthropologists who will discuss the ways in which the dynamics of gift-giving impacted the design, construction and the afterlives of these buildings. Scholars will debate whether the generosity and violence specific for gift-giving, the principle of reciprocity and the changing geopolitics and foreign trade in the Cold War facilitated the production and everyday uses of gifted buildings. By focusing on their continuous appropriation by inhabitants and users in Africa and Asia, this conference and the resulting publication will offer a more differentiated genealogy of global urbanisation and its architecture.

Conference convenor:
Professor Łukasz Stanek, University of Manchester, lukasz.stanek@Manchester.ac.uk 
Conference support:
Ksenia Litvinenko, University of Manchester

Program and registration can be found here.

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