Lebanese American University

Architecture and the Political
Fourth International Symposium on Architectural Theory

November 10–12, 2011 Beirut, Lebanon

Call for papers

The predominant paradigm in politics today is the so-called post-political, which claims to have overcome the old ideological struggles and instead focuses on expert management and administration of things in the establishment of the rational, modern society. A consequence of the abandoning of ideological causes, the post-political is the actual term for the de-politicization of social life in our consumer society. The obverse side of this zero-degree of politics is the aestheticization of social reality, which can be particularly discerned in the field of architecture. Contemporary architecture, after abandoning its role in the public realm, now serves the objectives of the post-political, in what appears as a betrayal of the modernist tradition. This issue raises an important question: is it still possible to think of a re-politicization of architecture in the current neo-liberal political and cultural order?

Among the objectives of this symposium is to examine the discourse of the ‘political’ in contemporary architecture. We invite the participants to address the questions of the politics of aesthetics, or the aestheticization of politics. Is the discourse of the political still relevant in relation to architecture? Under what set of axioms does the aesthetic discourse becomes political? What are the constitutive dimensions of the political in relation to the ‘public space’ of the contemporary city? Does the city still have any role as the scene of the political, in the sense of providing an emancipatory space where social ideals can be expressed and realized? How should we deal with the current discourse of the ‘post-political bio-power’ which has been imported into contemporary architectural discourse? And what exactly constitutes the primary elements of the so-called ‘political’ in architecture?

These are some of the guiding questions that will serve as a platform for the symposium. The speakers are invited to offer their own critical analysis of the current state of discourse in the discipline as well as its ramifications on practice.

Abstract submittal

Abstract should be submitted with the title only for review. No identification of the author should appear on the abstract. Abstracts should be submitted as PDF files. Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words.

Full paper submission

All papers submitted to the symposium will be collected and published in the symposium proceedings. Additionally, we are considering a later book project based on the presented materials with the tentative title of "Architecture and the Political."

Deadlines

Abstract Submission July 20, 2011
Notification of Acceptance August 10, 2011
Full Paper Submission October 10, 2011
Revised Paper for Publication January 10, 2011

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