Conference venue: ETH Zürich, Hönggerberg and Zentrum campus
Conference dates: 13th to 15th of September 2023
Who do we listen to when we write histories of architectures, cities, and landscapes? How many women authors can we find among our sources? How many of them are cited by those whose research we read? We argue that women and other marginalised groups have always been part of conversations on architectures, cities, and landscapes – but we have not had the space to listen to them. This conference is an invitation to reconstruct such conversations, real, imagined, and metaphorical ones, taking place in the 18th and 19th centuries, in any region, in order to diversify the ways we write histories. Taking the art of conversation, integral as both practice and form to the period in Western thought, and repurposing it to dismantle the exclusivity of historiography, this conference calls for contributions which bring women into dialogue with others.
Listening In proposes a new approach to the ‘canon’ and its protagonists. Rather than either fighting its existence or expanding it by means of ‘exceptions to the rule’, we call for the setting up of productive conversations. The organizers acknowledge that the canon never exists on its own; instead, it is shaped by what Griselda Pollock has called ‘that which, while repressed, is always present as its structuring other’ (1999, 8). This conference is envisaged as a listening exercise. The organizers regard a conversation as both codified practice as well as a specific act of verbal exchange, spoken or written, on a particular subject – here architectures, cities, and landscapes – occurring in a specific site, from street to salon, kitchen to court, construction site to theatre, field to church, or book to newspaper, to name but a few.
Listening In is organised in the context of two externally funded research projects based at gta, ETH Zurich: WoWA (Women Writing Architecture 1700-1900) is funded by the ERC, led by Anne Hultzsch, and studies female experiences of architecture and landscapes as recorded in women’s writings from South America and Europe. The SNSF-funded project Building Identity: Character in Architectural Discourse and Design 1750-1850, led by Sigrid de Jong and Maarten Delbeke, focuses on the uses and meaning of the notion of ‘character’ in architectural criticism and practice. Both projects share an interest in the experiences of marginalised groups, especially those who identified as women, and strive to have them heard not in a niche, but in the centre of our field. With this conference we wish to open up our approaches to a wider field of research, going beyond our respective geographical frameworks.
Prof Mabel O. Wilson
Prof Jane Rendell
There will be a limited number of free audience tickets for our two day conference. To register and for more information please visit our website https://listening.arch.ethz.ch
Group Anne Hultzsch and Professor Maarten Delbeke Chair, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zürich
Prof Maarten Delbeke, PD Dr Anne Hultzsch, Dr Sigrid de Jong, Dr Sol Pérez Martínez, Dr Nikos Magouliotis.
Prof Maarten Delbeke, PD Dr Anne Hultzsch, Dr Sigrid de Jong, Dr Sol Pérez Martínez, Dr Nikos Magouliotis, Dr Noelle Paulson, Elena Rieger, Alejandra Fries.
This conference is part of a project that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No.949525).