Feb. 7-9, 2013
The art historian T. J. Clark spoke for many scholars when he declared modernity marked a special historical transition when "the pursuit of a projected future — of goods, pleasures, freedoms, forms of control over nature, or infinities of information" overcame tradition and ritual. He distinguished the last 500 years against all previous time, and the west against the rest of the world. But such a bold assertion has opened itself to diverse interpretations. Is there a single modernity? If so, how was it created, disseminated and adopted? Or, alternately, are there actually multiple modernities? How can we appreciate the diversity of different cultures and different times?
The 8th Savannah Symposium features papers investigating modernity and/or modernities in the broadest and most critical terms. Studies address architecture, landscape and the imagined environment as well as empirical, methodological and theoretical approaches. The significance of the split-level house in mid-20th-century suburbanization is discussed as are postcolonial reinterpretations of world architecture. There are papers that investigate attempts to assert modernity, as suggested by the origins of the very word "modern" deriving from the Latin modernus from modo, "just now," (marking a 5th-century desire to distinguish the Christian era from the Pagan era) as well as discussions of cultural hybridity where modernity is actively negotiated. Some studies focus on particular sites or examples of modern architecture while others interpret who determined the modernity, when and where it occurred, and how it was presented and promoted.
In all, the more than 60 papers, presented by scholars from over a dozen countries, represents a rich intellectual engagement with these exciting ideas.
Keynote Speakers for the 8th Annual Savannah Symposium: Mark Jarzombek, MIT, and Dell Upton, UCLA.
For more information, please contact Patrick Haughey and Daves Rossell, department of architecture history, School of Building Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design.