Fall 2010 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Fields, Darell
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6312 Section 001
M Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Black. Architecture.Theory

Description of Course:

Conceptualized from within the historical phenomenon of nineteenth century “racial determinism,” this graduate seminar examines the racial subtext of architectural discourse. Methodologically, a series of readings and case studies identify a chain of “black” signifiers linking philosophy, aesthetics, and literary/architectural theories. Rather than perceived as a strictly social (racial) condition, this method allows seminar participants to develop research in the analysis and conceptualization of blackness as a creative aesthetic technique.

In addition to other sources, the following texts will be examined: Lectures on the Philosophy of History (Hegel), Aesthetics (Hegel), The Signifying Monkey (Gates) and Architecture in Black (Fields). The evolutionary diagram emerging from these and other readings represents a critical objective tool used to examine the entrenched nature of racial logics found in any number of disciplines. The diagram also demonstrates blackness’ theoretical potential in architecture and other discourses.

Required Texts:

D. Fields, Architecture in Black (London: The Athlone Press, 2000). (Excerpts provided by instructor.)

H. L. Gates, Jr., The Signifying Monkey and the Language of Signifyin(g): Rhetorical Difference and the Orders of Meaning,” in The Signifying Monkey (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).

M. North, The Dialect of Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Discussion topics will be held in weekly sessions. Normally, the beginning of each session will include an introduction by the instructor focusing on principles and techniques found in required readings. The remaining portion will take full advantage of the seminar format, seeking to question, propose and synthesize ideas found within the texts. Students will be evaluated on class participation, preparation, and submission of a final research paper (15-20 pages).

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