Posted in March, 2015

Notes from the Chair

“Monumentality for the Masses”

The Dean of the College and the Art History Program present
a lecture

 Ana Maria León
Massachusetts institute of Technology


This lecture examines a series of texts, images, and architectural projects produced in 1930s and 1940s Argentina, and how they participated in the intellectual, poetic, and spatial construction of the city of Buenos Aires as both a real and imaginary site. Casa Amarilla, an unbuilt housing project designed by Antonio Bonet, brings together these various works in the context of the city’s population growth and the country’s unsteady politics. I argue Casa Amarilla countered the centralized power of the Argentinian state by shifting formal characteristics of monumentality and centrality from the elites to the disenfranchised masses, and inserting them into the city.

Monday, March 23, 2015
4:00 pm
Preston Theater

Notes from the Chair

Building the Case: Design and Media at the International Military Tribunal, c. 1945

The Dean of the College and the Art History Program
Olga Touloumi
Harvard University

Untitled copyDuring four short months in the summer of 1945, the Office of Strategic Services, IBM, and landscape architect Dan Kiley prepared Courtroom 600 for the Nuremberg Trials. Planned as a “world spectacle,” the project required a wide mobilization of resources and technologies that crossed national and institutional boundaries. Scholars have extensively discussed the legal and diplomatic history of the International Military Tribunal, along with its implications for international law in the post-World War II period, but little attention has been paid to the position of the courtroom itself in this seminal event.

This lecture will unravel the role of design and architecture in the Nuremberg Trials, explaining that both served to produce international law as an integral component of the world organization that the United Nations announced. By looking into the series of projects that led to the final courtroom design, I will discuss the debates on representation, mediation, and participation that informed this interior. Ultimately, I argue, in the Nuremberg Courtroom designers and officials reconceived architecture as a mobile technology to transfer and implement models of legal space across expansive and contested networks of global communication.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
4:30 pm
RKC 101

Notes from the Chair

Nic Violett ’15 Gave a Paper

1:2 faceCongratulations to Art History Major Nic Viollet!
The History of Art Students’ Association (HASA) at University of Toronto invited undergraduates to participate in its second annual History of Art conference March 6th-7th 2015. Through the conference,  the University aspired to have undergraduate art historians engage and explore their fields of interest in a supportive and challenging environment, whilst developing both academic and professional skills. The year’s theme focused on the constructions and interpretations of memory.  The University “invited students to submit papers that explore diverse dimensions of this overarching theme, including but not limited to: The construction of real and imagined worlds, Collective and singular memories, Physical and psychological conceptions of memory, Problems of subjectivity, Representations and re-appropriations of a past. Nic Violett ’15 submitted and was accepted to present in the Third Session, chaired by Theresa Wang, his paper “Hon-En Katerdral: Audience and the Body.”


Teju Cole has been awarded one of the 2015 Windham-Campbell Prize in fiction

Congratulations Teju Cole!

Notes from the Chair

“Producing the Prison: A Spatial History of Prisoners in Colonial India”

Mira Rai Waits
University of California, Santa Barbara

“Producing the Prison: A Spatial History of Prisoners in Colonial India”

IOR/X/104/1-53, plate 28Nineteenth- and twentieth- century histories of prisons in British India have followed three narratives. British imperial history presented prisons as exceptional infrastructural improvements essential to governance. In Indian nationalist history, prisons became synonymous with British rule and incarceration was determined to be a necessary stage of Indian resistance. Recent scholarship has emphasized the legal and ideological origin of the prison as well as the significance of medical practice. When examined as a whole, this body of material can provide valuable insights into the colonial Indian prison. However these histories fail to investigate the prison in terms of design, representation, physical space, and material experience, reducing the prison to a static concept—a site of pure ideology. This talk demonstrates that the prison was not a historical given, but rather a space continually altered, re-imagined, and even challenged by the people and objects experiencing, recording, and narrating its production. This paper advocates the recognition of space as an active and dynamic component of the history of Indian prisons.

Thursday, March 12, 2015
12:00 noon
Olin 102