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Complexité des géographies : situer les différences en histoire de l'architecture – Ambivalent Geographies: Situating Difference in Architectural History

The Uses and Abuses of Human Geography: Difference and Space at World’s Expositions

Patricia Morton

Résumé

This paper probes the French human geographic and ethnographic traditions, and their use and abuse in architecture and architectural history, c. 1920–50. Human geography has given architectural history a highly ambivalent heritage. On the one hand, its insistence on the specificity and localization of differences between cultures (and its documentation of such differences) has been strategic for the development of post-colonial national cultures and the theorization of postcolonial spatiality. On the other, it views geographically located difference as historically immutable and fixed according to social Darwinian evolutionary hierarchies, a mentality deeply embedded in architectural history. I will talk about the ways human geography as a discipline attempted to fix both European and non-European cultures spatially and temporally (e.g., Lévy-Bruhl, Vidal de la Blache, Halbwachs), discuss geography’s influence on architectural history (e.g., Lavedan) and its implication with colonialism, and read that effort “against the grain” by means of postwar ethnographers like Lévi-Strauss and Leiris who questioned the degree to which difference and identity could be so stabilized. I might then cite briefly recent work on geography, such as Irit Rogoff’s book on contemporary art and Gillian Rose’s feminist geography that critiques the legacy of the human geographic enterprise. By illustration, I will compare pre-WWII and post-WWII world’s fairs (e.g., Paris 1931 and Brussels 1958), and read them as manifestations of the human geographic agenda.

Entrées d’index

Mots clés :

géographie humaine

Lieux :

France

Index chronologique :

XXe siècle, époque contemporaine

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Patricia Morton, « The Uses and Abuses of Human Geography: Difference and Space at World’s Expositions », in Repenser les limites : l'architecture à travers l'espace, le temps et les disciplines, Paris, INHA (« Actes de colloques »), 2005.

Référence électronique

Patricia Morton, « The Uses and Abuses of Human Geography: Difference and Space at World’s Expositions », in Repenser les limites : l'architecture à travers l'espace, le temps et les disciplines, Paris, INHA (« Actes de colloques »), 2005, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 24 octobre 2008, consulté le 23 mars 2017. URL : http://inha.revues.org/226

Auteur

Patricia Morton

Patricia Morton is Associate Professor and the chair of the History of Art Department at University of California, Riverside, United States. She received her BA in Architecture from Yale University, MArch from Columbia University and PhD in Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism from Princeton University. Among the awards, fellowships, and grants she has received are: Major Instructional Grant of University of California Riverside in 2004–2005; National Endowment for the Arts (with the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design), Project Director, (for the project “Redressing the Mall: Eagle Rock Plaza Competition,” a public competition to redesign the Eagle Rock Plaza Mall, 2001–2002) and UC Humanities Research Institute and the Center for Ideas and Society, UC Riverside, conference grants for “Everyday Modernisms: History of the Social in Modern Design, Architecture, and Landscape,” conference held at UC Riverside, September 2000. She is the author of Hybrid Modernities: Architecture and Representation at the 1931 International Colonial Exposition in Paris, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press, 2000), she edited Pop Culture and Postwar American Taste, 1960–1975 (Blackwell Press, 2005) and co-edited Le Corbusier and Others: A Festschrift in Honor of Alan Colquhoun, edited with Mary McLeod and Taisto Mäkelä (in progress).

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