I spent my childhood building Lego castles in the sky. I spent the next fifteen years learning everything I could about them from great teachers, great books, and buildings themselves. I aspire to inspire my students into a life-long curiosity about the environment that we create and live in. Through my scholarship, I share my discoveries and hypotheses with a wider audience.
How have populations negotiated divergent systems of thought through time and space and what roles have the built environment and material and visual cultures played in these negotiations? This question underpins my research endeavors from my current work on the impact of Germany’s global entanglements on German architectural culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to my earlier research on the Pietist spatial imaginary in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century project of global Christianity. My next project will explore the “dream of the factory-built house,” which I argue has its roots in some of the foundational contradictions of modernity in addition to being a by-product of European colonial projects.
Recent activities include learning to read old German script at Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA; reviewing William Cunnigham Bissell’s book, Urban Design, Chaos, and Colonial Power in Zanzibar, for the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; attending the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting in Detroit, MI; and sponsoring a submission by architectural studies students for the 2012 Whalen Symposium at Ithaca College. In October 2012, I was honored to receive the Jeffrey Cook Award from the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE) for my paper, "Architecture and the Myth of Authenticity During the German Colonial Period."
In my Fall 2012 courses, students will:
▪ Explore lesser-known histories of modern architecture in Turkey, Japan, Algeria, Kenya, India, etc.
▪ Model elements of nineteenth-century world’s fairs
▪ Read Paul Scheerbarth’s The Gray Cloth: A Novel on Glass Architecture and other examples of architectural travel fiction
▪ Visit one of Ithaca’s “Fallingwaters”— houses designed in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright’s modernist masterpiece, Fallingwater