From Brasilia to post-unification Berlin, from polyclinics in post-war France to the social housing projects in post-Apartheid South Africa, ideas about community and participation on the one hand, and architecture, space and emotions on the other are intimately linked. Picking up where history’s spatial turn and architecture’s emotional turn have left off, this conference seeks to unravel the close connections between politics, spaces and feelings.
Built environments enabled, (un)intentionally provoked, or methodically educated a variety of feelings towards different forms of democratic governance—here understood as a political claim as well as a practice. They did so through their conception, materiality and use. Architecture rendered ideas about emotions and their value for democratic governance concrete. Ideas about morality and conduct were inscribed into it. This, to some extent, is true for all government and official architecture. Yet particularly after the Second World War and during decolonization, almost all countries, regardless of actual practices of governance, claimed to be democracies or at the very least republics. This conference asks what effect these claims had on the organization of architecture and space, on the feelings that circulated within them and how this contributed to the challenged history of democracy.
The conference on “Architecture, Democracy and Emotions” aims to interrogate three interlinked ways of politicizing and emotionalizing spaces:
- The way in which democratic governments in the 20th century thought about the sensatory relationship between state and citizens as experienced through architecture;
- the way citizens experienced their governmental institutions through built space;
- how citizens (and among them architects and urban planners) wanted to fashion democratic relations among themselves and with the state by way of built space.
To this end, the organizers invite applications for papers on democratic architecture and emotions since 1945. These can range from the architecture of parliament buildings to the interaction of state and citizens within the physical manifestations of expanding social welfare institutions or attempts at fashioning radically new living arrangements through squatting or communes. Within this context democracy itself should be historicized and grand narratives of democratization and liberalization be challenged. Accordingly, the organizers welcome applications dealing with the people’s democracies of the Eastern Bloc and with democracies in newly decolonized states to engage in a discussion about the specific global conditions of different 20th century democratic built spaces and the emotions associated with them.
The conference will be held in English.
The Max Planck Institute for Human Development will contribute towards travel and accomodation expenses. If you are interested in participating in this conference, please send a proposal of no more than 500 words and a short CV to cfp-emotions[at]mpib-berlin.mpg.de. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes.