History | World Architecture
W300 | 16915 | Dodson

Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA's only
A portion of the above class reserved for majors

It has been said that architecture represents the soul of a
civilization.  From the Taj Mahal in India to the Burj Khalifa in
Dubai, and from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the World Trade Centre
in New York, architecture communicates a society’s aspirations, its
highest and most noble ideas, and its history.  Architecture can
serve as a pure form of artistic expression, as well as being purely
functional; it can push the boundaries of technology; and it can
enrich our day-to-day lives.  Of course architecture can also be
banal, uninspiring, and in many cases, simply brutal.  But the
design and construction of buildings is an integral part of the
human experience, in other words, and in this course we will survey
some of the best (and a bit of the worst) architecture produced
throughout the world during the last several hundred years.  We will
ask what purposes architecture has served historically, including:
what are the links between architecture and industrial capitalism?
How is the design of a building intended to communicate a society’s
possession of modernity?  How have theories of architecture been
used to perpetuate inequalities through colonialism?  And how do
architectural practices now reflect the globalization of the recent

No prior knowledge of architecture or architectural theory is
presumed or required.  The course will be conducted as a series of
lectures with opportunities for class discussion as well.  Readings
will largely be composed of “primary sources”, and there will be an
emphasis on developing students’ skills in the critical
interpretation of visual and textual sources.  Your grade will be
determined on the basis of several exams and written assignments.