ABSTRACT FOR “III SYMPOSIUM OF SAHN: THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF SWEDISH ARCHITECTURE.”
Architectural history in action–methodological experiments in the Swedish Towns project.
Traditionally, historiographical studies deals mostly with published texts, i.e. the products of historical writing. This paper will shift focus from the products (the outcome) to the practice of writing architectural history. The study draws inspiration from the development within science studies where the scientific work is seen as a practice. In Science in Action (1987) Bruno Latour writes: ”our entry into science and technology will be through the back door of science in the making, not through the more grandiose entrance of ready made science.”
The Swedish Towns project (Svensk stad) is exceptionally well suitable for a study of “architectural history in the making”. It was an interdisciplinary project with the objective of writing the urban history of the Swedish 19th and early 20th century towns and to analyze how the industrialization of the Swedish society affected the urban environments. Swedish Towns was conducted as a teamwork including 20‐something participants from various disciplines, but the predominant part had a background in art history. Because of the teamwork structure, the interdisciplinary mode of working and the fact that the process stretched over a decade (1940–‐1953) the project generated a unique archive material comprising of theoretical and methodological considerations on how to conduct the work. These discussions are for several reasons not included in the final products, published in 1950 and 1953. By returning to the archives of the Swedish Towns project this paper aims at analyzing the process and practice of architectural history writing – architectural history in action.
Anders Dahlgren is an art historian and an architect, and since September 2011 a PhD-candidate in Art History and Visual Studies. Dahlgren’s PhD project is about the art, architectural and urban historical project Svensk stad (Swedish
Towns), published in two volumes in 1950 and 1953. Dahlgren’s research interests include architectural historiography, urban history and the connections between architectural (history) research and architectural practice.
Anders Dahlgren, PhD candidate
Department of Cultural Sciences/
Art History and Visual Studies
University of Gothenburg