Interdisciplinarity, Critique and Risk: New Directions in Urban and Architectural Histories in and of Asia

Dr Kah-wee Lee1, Dr Lilian Chee1, Mr. Zihao Wong1, Dr. Jayde Lin Roberts2, Dr. Gauri Bharat3

1National University Of Singapore, , Singapore, 2University of New South Wales, , Australia, 3Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University, , India

Chair: Dr Kah-wee Lee

Overview:

As the future of the world shifts eastwards, it is necessary to re-examine the burden of history in and of Asia. This has special significance for architectural and urban historians – as more and more of Asia’s built environment is folded into the expanding frontiers of development, the script of the past appears crowded and ghost-written by populist, nationalist and market forces. Yet it is into this contestation over the past that scholars can reconcile with how histories were written and articulate the nascent impulses of a new generation of historiography.  This panel presents emerging trends in architectural and urban historiography with reference to changing disciplinary norms, institutional settings, methodologies and theoretical influences. The four papers wrestle with historiographical models outside of or emerging within the discipline of architecture, such as genealogy, micro-history and global history. They also show how various critical approaches (such as feminism, postcolonial theory and vernacular/heritage studies) have changed architectural inquiry, and ask what they can continue to offer into the future. Finally, as a panel made up primarily of mid-career scholars, it asks what “Asia” does to research and teaching: what are the stakes of writing histories in and of Asia, and what are the risks involved in charting new directions?

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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