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A Prolegomena to Critical Historiography

Mark Jarzombek
Journal of Architectural Education (1984-)
Vol. 52, No. 4 (May, 1999), pp. 197-206
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1425409
Page Count: 10
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A Prolegomena to Critical Historiography
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Abstract

Over the last decades we have witnessed the increased intellectualization of architecture. What was first a largely autodidactic interest in Heidegger, Bachelard, and Joyce, is now the topic of textbooks, anthologies, seminar papers, with the committed student having to be familiar with the likes of Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Barthes, Jameson, Gramsci, Derrida, Lacan, and now Deleuze. Though the architectural "take" on these philosophers is often inconsistent and spurious, the enterprise as a whole has to be understood within a system that is now almost a century old. Whether it was Le Corbusier's readings of Friedrich Nietzsche or Eric Mendelsohn's of Martin Buber, architects often turned to other disciplines, including psychology, Gestalt psychology in particular, to help position themselves within the intellectual determinants of modernity. The "history of theory" is thus more than just a specialized problem of the avant-garde. It is equivalent with the history of modernity. And yet, despite the importance of these exchanges (and despite theory's increasing self-academizations), it is still difficult for us to easily assess and historicize them.

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