What does a global history of architectural modernism look like?

Cover of a book called Rethinking Global Modernism shows a large ball of string

Daniel E. Coslett, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History, and two colleagues have recently produced an anthology that collects developing scholarship outlining a new decentred history of global modernism in architecture using postcolonial and other related theoretical frameworks.

By both revisiting the canons of modernism and seeking to decolonize and globalize those canons, "Rethinking Global Modernism: Architectural Historiography and the Postcolonial" explores what a genuinely "global" history of architectural modernism might begin to look like. Its chapters explore the historiography and weaknesses of modernism's normative interpretations and propose alternatives to them. The collection offers essays that interrogate transnationalism in new ways, reconsiders the agency of the subaltern and the roles played by infrastructures, materials, and global institutions in propagating a diversity of modernisms internationally. Issues such as colonial modernism, architectural pedagogy, cultural imperialism, and spirituality are engaged.

With essays from both established scholars and up-and-coming researchers, this is an important reference for a new understanding of this crucial and developing topic.

Coslett is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture and is a specialist in colonial, modern, and postcolonial architecture in North Africa. At Western he teaches courses on ancient visual cultures, modern and colonial architecture, monuments, and tourism.

Recent publications include:

"Neocolonialism and Built Heritage: Echoes of Empire in Africa, Asia, and Europe" (Daniel E. Coslett, ed. Routledge, 2020)
"Preservation and Tourism in Tunisia: On the Colonial Past in the Neocolonial Present," Journal of North African Studies 25, no. 5 (2020): 727–57

Additional images from the book below:

Rafaele Contigiani, Hôtel du Lac (1973) (left) and Robert Eloy, Ministry of Tourism building (1957, expanded in 1962) (right), Tunis, Tunisia (photo by Daniel E. Coslett).

Marius Boyer, City Hall (1927–36), Casablanca, Morocco (photo by Daniel E. Coslett).

large modern building shaped like an inverted trapezoid
1920s colonial style building with a spire or tower extending from the middle

Authored on

Nov 24, 2021 8:28am