Architecture and Memory Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World

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ARCH 1710

Architecture and Memory

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World

Brown University ~ Spring 2009

Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:50 am. Biomed Center 081

Instructor: Ömür Harmanşah (
Assistant Professor of Archaeology and

Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies

Ömür's Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-3 pm at the Institute and Wednesdays 11-12 am at Blue State Café (w/ coffee and ginger biscuits - no kidding)
TA: Keffie Weiss (
Graduate Student, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Course Wiki:

Course Description

Why did the Philadelphia police bomb a house in West Philadelphia in 1985 and let the whole neighborhood burn for hours? Why did a Hindu nationalist mob destroy a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya during a riot in 1992? Why is "Ground Zero" such a powerful and evocative place? Why did ancient Babylonian kings dig around to locate the foundations of ancient temples? Why do ruins always draw our interest and curiosity? What stories are told on the walls of ancient, medieval and modern structures?

Before the invention of the printing press, buildings and monuments have been considered as the "book of humanity" on which the stories of humanity had been inscribed. Buildings have been mediators of the past, with their powerful presence and often turbulent histories. Stories cling to their stones, which become visible residues of the human lives that shape them. Memories, imaginations and experiences, collectively shared or individual, give meaning to architectural spaces. This course explores the intersections of memory and architecture through various archaeological case studies from the ancient world. We will work on the hypothesis that memory is not simply a matter of the individual mind: it is always materially manifested and it is always part of our everyday lives.

Books ordered at the Brown Bookstore

  • Connerton, Paul; 1989. How societies remember. Cambridge University Press.

  • Nelson, Robert S. and Margaret Olin (eds.); 2003. Monuments and memory: made and unmade. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.

  • Alcock, Susan E.; 2002. Archaeologies of the Greek past: landscape, monuments, and memories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Van Dyke, Ruth M. & Susan E. Alcock (eds.); 2003. Archaeologies of memory. Ruth M. Van Dyke & Susan E. Alcock (eds.); Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

  • Harbison, Robert; 1991. The built, the unbuilt, and the unbuildable. MIT Press.

Course Requirements and Practicalities

Students are expected to do the weekly readings thoroughly, to participate in the discussion sessions, and to ask relevant questions following the lectures. Every Tuesday, there will be a 50-minute lecture on the weekly theme, followed by questions and discussion. Every Thursday the entire class will be dedicated to seminar discussion on the weekly readings.

The chorus: Starting with Week 3, we will ask 6-8 students to volunteer to act as the chorus for the Thursday discussion. The chorus will constitute the inner circle of discussants who will be responsible to do the weekly readings more carefully than others that week and be prepared to be very active during that week's discussion. The chorus will preferably meet with Keffie as a group on Wednesdays to highlight the important the questions to be brought up the next day. Students who are outside this inner circle of discussants are also invited to intervene to the discussion and contribute but they are expected to respect the dominating role of the chorus. Members of the chorus will write up 1-2 page responses after the discussion and post them on the wiki. It is advisable that you start looking at the weekly topics soon to choose your preferred theme for acting in the chorus. Following each discussion session, the responsible chorus members will post 1-2 page commentaries on the wiki.

Logbook: an intimate record: You will be asked to keep a logbook throughout the semester to keep a consistent and rich documentation of your ideas, thoughts, projects, visual imagery that this class had provoked in your mind. Hard- bound sketch books are recommended and are available at the bookstore. However you are free (and indeed encouraged) to try different formats, or produce the logbook yourself. If you prefer to work digitally, you can substitute the logbook with a weekly kept blog liked to the course wiki.

The logbook will be an accumulated product of the whole semester’s work of note-taking, writing, sketching, drawing, cutting-pasting etc, using any kind of media. It will be your own design, your own work of art. It will be reviewed by Ömür and Keffie twice during the semester, once before the spring break and once at the end of the semester. Expected minimum for the content of the logbooks will be the core concepts to be covered in seminar discussions. Keeping the logbook will readily make you well-prepared for the final exam.

Short paper assignments: You will be asked to write two short (5-6 page) papers during the semester. The deadlines for these papers are on your weekly schedule. The first paper will involve a group work on a "place", or a "monument" in Providence and the memories attached to it. The topic of the second assignment will be determined later, based on the interests of the class. Most likely it will be based on group projects on a number of memory-related topics that could not be covered in class (due to time limitations).

Final Exam: will be an exam of essay questions, where the major issues discussed throughout the semester will be raised.

Grading: Attendance and Participation (including Chorus duty) 25%, Two Short Paper Assignments/Projects 30% Final Exam 25% Logbook 20%

Weekly Schedule
Week 1. (January 22) Introduction

Thursday The architecture of remembering: overview of the semester.
Week 2. (January 27-29) MOVE: Embattled sites of history and trauma

Tuesday Lecture: Buildings that tell the story: ancient, medieval and modern...

Hugo, Victor; 1978 (1831). "This will kill that" in Notre Dame de Paris. Trans. John Sturrock. Penguin 1978, 188-202. (Handout)

Thursday Discussion: MOVE: sites of trauma and memory

Dickson, Johannah Saleh; 2002. MOVE: Sites of trauma. Pamphlet Architecture 23. Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press.

Wagner-Pacifici, Robin; 1994. Discourse and Destruction: The City of Philadelphia versus MOVE. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Week 3. (February 3-5) Modern Cult of Monuments and Memorials

Reigl, Alois; 1982 (1903). “The modern cult of monuments: its character and origin,” (Tr. K. W. Forster and D. Ghirardo) Oppositions 25 (1982), 21-50.

Forty, Adrian; 2001. "Introduction" in The Art of Forgetting. Adrian Forty, Susanne Küchler (eds.) Berg Publishers, 1-18.

Harbison, Robert; 1992. "Monuments" in The built, the unbuilt and the unbuildable, 37-66.

Nelson, Robert S. and Margaret Olin; 2003. "The rhetoric of monument making: the World Trade Center," in Monuments and memory: made and unmade, 305-325.

Gutman, Yifat; 2009. "Where do we go from here: The pasts, presents and futures of Ground Zero," Memory Studies 2: 55-70.

Week 4. (February 10-12) Sharing the past: Collective memory

Thursday: Short Paper Assignment 1 due

Connerton, Paul; 1989. "Introduction" and "Social memory" in How societies remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-40.

Assmann, Jan; 2006. "What is cultural memory?" in Religion and cultural memory. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 1-30.

Nora, Pierre; 1989. “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire” Representations 26: 7–24.

February 14-17 Long-weekend

Week 5. (February 19) Archaeologies of Memory: Presence of the Past

No class on Tuesday (Long weekend)

Alcock, Susan E.; 2002. "Archaeologies of Memory" in Archaeologies of the Greek Past: landscape, monuments and memories, 1-35.

Van Dyke, Ruth M. & Susan E. Alcock; 2003. “Archaeologies of memory: an introduction,” in Archaeologies of memory. Ruth M. Van Dyke & Susan E. Alcock (eds.); Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1-13.

Schnapp, Alain "Archaeology and the presence of the past" in The discovery of the past. New York: Harry N. Abrams Publishers, 11-37.

Meskell, Lynn; 2007. "Back to the future: From the past in the present to the past in the past," in Negotiating the past in the past, 215-226.

Week 6. (February 24-26) Babylonian archaeologists of the Mesopotamian past

Jonker, Gerdien; 1995. The topography of remembrance: the dead, tradition and collective memory in Mesopotamia. Leiden: Brill.

Winter, Irene J.; 2000. “Babylonian archaeologists of the(ir) Mesopotamian past,” in Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. P. Matthiae et al (eds.); Università degli studi di Roma “La Sapienza,” Roma, 1785-1789.
Week 7. (March 3-5) Landscapes of Greece: monuments and memorable places

Guest: Sue Alcock

Alcock, Susan E.; 2002. Archaeologies of the Greek Past: landscape, monuments and memories. Cambridge University Press.

Davis, Jack L.; 2007. "Memory groups and the state: Erasing the past and inscribing the present in the landscapes of the Mediterranean and the Near East," in Negotiating the past in the past, 227-256.
Week 8. (March 10-12) Iconoclasm: destruction as performance of memory.

Thursday: Short Paper assignment 2 due

Elsner, Jaś; 2003. "Iconoclasm and the preservation of memory," in Monuments and memory, made and unmade, 209-232.

Crawford, Catherine Lyon; 2007. "Collecting, defacing, reinscribing (and otherwise performing) memory in the ancient world," in Negotiating the past in the past, 215-226.

Meskell, Lynn; 2002. "Negative Heritage and Past Mastering in Archaeology" Anthropological Quarterly 75.3: 557-574.

Flood, Finbarr Barry; 2002. "Between Cult and Culture: Bamiyan, Islamic Iconoclasm, and the Museum" The Art Bulletin 84/4: 641-659

Week 9. (March 17-19) Spolia: use, re-use and abuse of the architectural fragment from Byzantium to Berlin wall

Guest: Sheila Bonde

Van der Hoorn, Mèlanie; 2003. "Exorcising remains: Architectural Fragments as Intermediaries between History and Individual Experience," Journal of Material Culture 8/2: 189-213.

Papalexandrou, Amy; 2003. "Memory tattered and torn: spolia in the heartland of Byzantine Hellenism," in Archaeologies of memory 56-80.

Elsner, Jaś; 2000. "From the culture of spolia to the cult of relics: The Arch of Constantine and the genesis of Late Antique forms," Papers of the British School at Rome 68: 149-84.

Kinney, Dale; 2006. "The concept of Spolia," in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe. C. Rudolph (ed.) Oxford, 233-52.
March 21-29 Spring break
Week 10. (March 31-April 2) The memory of stones: technology, materials and the weathering of buildings

Mustafavi, Mohsen and David Leatherbarrow; 1993. On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time. MIT Press.

Week 11. (April 7-9) Ruins: abandoned places, haunted memories

Foucault, Michel; 1967. "Of other spaces: heterotopias"

Harbison, Robert; 1992. "Ruins" in The built, the unbuilt and the unbuildable, 99-130.

Edensor, Tim; 2005. Industrial ruins : spaces, aesthetics, and materiality. Oxford ; New York : Berg.

Trigg, Dylan; 2009. "The place of trauma: Memory, hauntings, and the temporality of ruins," Memory Studies 2009 2: 87-101.

Week 12. (April 14-16) Ayodhya: the contested place of memory, history, identity, violence

Guha-Thakurta. 2003. “Archaeology and the monument: an embattled site of history and memory in contemporary India,” in Monuments and Memory, 59-81.

Bernbeck, Reinhard and Susan Pollock; 1996. “Ayodha, archaeology and identity,” Current Anthropology 37: 138-142.

Ratnagar, Shereen 2004. "Archaeology at the heart of a political confrontation: the case of Ayodhya," Current Anthropology 45/2: 239-259.

Shaw, Julia; 2000. "Ayodhya's sacred landscape: ritual memory, politics and archaeological fact," in Antiquity 74: 693-700.
Week 13. (April 21-23) Cities of memory, urban space and heritage: the case of post-civil war Beirut

Boyer, M. Christine; 1996. The City of Collective Memory: Its Historical Imagery and Architectural Entertainments. MIT Press.

Khalaf, Samir; 2006. Heart of Beirut: reclaiming the Bourj. London: Saqi Books.

Makdisi, Saree; "Beirut, a City without History?" in Memory and violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Ussama Makdisi and Paul A. Silverstein (eds.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 201-214.

Week 14. (April 28) Architecture of Memory: wrap-up discussion

Final exam: sometime between May 6-15 (to be assigned by the Registrar).

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