Liberated Histories & Imperial Afterlives
A Virtual Conference to be jointly hosted by The Center for Urban Studies in Kyiv and the National Art Museum of Ukraine and the Art and Architectural History Department at the College of Charleston, November 18-19, 2022; Call for Abstracts deadline: July 15, 2022.
As Vladimir Putin reminded the world by insisting that Ukraine never existed shortly before invading the country, empires are rarely content to seize the future of a colonized people—they also seek to conquer their past. When identity and heritage become targets, architectural history becomes one of many battlefields. Even after the guns finally fall silent, the process of recovering local identities in a post-colonial condition is complicated by the fact that historical traces of empires often remain, and at times become interwoven with a place and its peoples. Some imperial artifacts must be dismantled, but can others be reframed or repurposed to serve empowering, conciliatory, or otherwise democratic purposes?
We invite submissions for a groundbreaking virtual transcontinental conference to be hosted jointly in Kyiv and Charleston from November 18-19. We seek studies exploring the ways that architectural and urban history can serve as tools in the recovery of histories that have been erased, denied, or otherwise attacked in the course of imperial conquest and colonization. We are also keenly interested in the ways in which the telling of history and construction of heritage can be used to reframe or re-appropriate the architectural and urban legacies of empires. The latter is especially important in contexts where the old weapons of oppression wielded by ostensibly dead regimes continue to do harm in the present, sometimes by making their way into new hands. How do colonized people go about imagining, representing, and manifesting pre-colonial memories and post-colonial hopes in buildings and cities in the midst of a “colonial situation”? How do architectural strategies and practices of resistance work or echo in a colonized or post-colonial city (e.g., the politics/geographies of memory, conservation concepts, heritage construction, and spatial practices)? How does urban colonialism coexist with and receive conditioning by modernization in its myriad forms? How do urban spaces form and inform colonial or post-colonial subjects and “imagined communities,” and how do “everyday practices” react to this? In essence: when the past and the future are both at stake, how do we build?