Balkanization_Seminar at Harvard Graduate School of Design
HARVARD UNIVERSITY Graduate School of Design
Seminar: Fall 2008
Title: Balkanization: from Metaphor of War to Shaping of Cities
Topic: Agents of Urban Distinction
With: Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss
Short description of the seminar: What are the roles and confluences of architecture, art and urbanism vis-a-vis emerging democratic processes. Participants in this seminar will be engaged in researching, reading through and collecting an array of contemporary sources related to expanded and contemporary meanings of Balkanization vis-a-vis emerging cities in post-conflict and post-socialist cultures. Initial focus of knowledge will be given to recent wars and territorial fragmentation in the Balkans, new maps of Europe and further attempts to transfer discerned strategies of progressive dividing of territory and identity into the realm of architecture. This focus will expand to any complimentary global strategies, like the military one by NATO or UN, and others brought by the participating students in the seminar.
Structure of the seminar: The seminar is divided in three parts:
1_The first part will be looking at the current discourse about the territorial effects of the wars in the Balkans and effects on philosophical and cultural reactions throughout the region. Historical analysis and mapping of the regions many processes of disintegration [Greek, Roman, Byzantium, Turkish, Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav empires] that leave many issues of territorial fragmentation uncontested. During this time it will be an imperative to find direct relationships between mapping of separated entities to inner division of political entities unwilling to fragment. Also relationships between hostilities and land division will be looked at, as well as conditions of contemporary political or racial separatism. Important part of this phase will be to look at emerging positive aspects of Balkanization. Focus of study will aim at new and enriched meanings of fragmentation, ones that lead towards positive or sustained realities. Balkanization in the region of the Balkans will be looked at as a source for speedy evolution of the negative term towards positive positions of particular spatial sustenance.
2_The second part of the seminar will examine contemporary occurrences of Balkanization occurring outside of the territory of the Balkans. It will encompass new critical views of European Union and its processes of internal fragmentation while enlarging its outer scope. Special attention will be given to new studies of what constitutes a contemporary territorial border, and “how to draw a line” both from geo-political and psychoanalytical approach to a collective or national identity. Phenomena described as “invasion,” “occupation,” “secession,” “irredentism” will be looked at critically on the sample of recent studies in Israel and Palestine, Eastern Europe, the Stans, Far East and Antarctica. Furthermore, we will look at new views about gated settlements as a planned example of Balkanization. Or for example, on the other hand, we will also investigate “Balkanization of the Internet” or “Balkanization of the International Law.” This part will examine theory and strategies emerged as a response to processes of conflicting, territorial and spatial fragmentation. Writings of Pierre Burdiuex, Julia Kristeva, Slavoj Zizek, Rastko Mocnik, Maria Todorova and Elizabeth Grosz on the emerging realms of the distinct “outside,” “strangers,” “creative borders” will be related to more pragmatic approaches in avant-garde art and architecture. Historical concepts of Noble Savage [Le Corbusier], Barbarogenious [Zenith] will be critically analyzed in relation to more recent practices in art and architecture. The aim of this segment is learning from both theoretical and pragmatic sources, seemingly developed on two parallel tracks.
3_The third part of the seminar will review [and engage] with some of the contemporary architecture and art practices operating within the aspects of Balkanization, as well as complimentary practices worldwide. What is a potential of territorial research and knowledge used in these practices, and what are the political boundaries between them? All investigation in this part of the seminar will attempt to lead towards the main questions: What are the relationships between architecture and urbanism vis-a-vis emerging democratic processes.
Character of the seminar: The course is designed to welcome the confluence between students own research topics and the topics pursued in the seminar. Every week the seminar will meet for a lecture, screening or presentation of the selected projects in the field, and then for discussion. Students will help to lead readings and presentations. A midterm abstract establishes student's research questions for the semester.
The seminar will progress in a mix of lectures, class presentations and selected film and video screenings.
Students’ delivery: Participants in the seminar will be expected to:
1. lead class discussion in one of the sessions,
choose a topic, phenomenon, occurrence or agent of territorial fragmentation and perform research [NATO or military, Ideology, Religion, Economy/Remittance.
present their work in progress in a mini-symposium, roundtable format near the end of semester.
submit either a paper of up to 7,000 words or design a audio-visual documentary of up to 5 minutes in duration.
Harvard GSD contacts:
Jerold Kayden, Co-chair, UPD_GSD, +1.617.496.0830, email@example.com
Katrina Piehler, Assistant, UPD_GSD, 617-495-9571, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellen Colleran, Program Assistant, UPD_GSD, +1.617.495.2521, email@example.com
Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean, GSD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, Lecturer, +1.646.209.8486, email@example.com
Calendar [September-December 2008]:
Dates Topics / Presentations Reading / Review
Sep 10, 2008 Course presentation
Sep 18, 2008 Introductions: topics, participants and methods Popular books on the history of Balkans, Lost Highway Expedition Photobook, www.europelostandfound.net
Balkan Academic News [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sep 25, 2008 Srdjan: Metaphors of Balkanization Bjelic&Savic: Balkan as Metaphor
Oct 2, 2008 Ideology & Religion; Screening: Looking for October - School of Missing Studies Maria Todorova: Imagining the Balkans; Edward Said: Orientalism; [more TBD]
Oct 9, 2008 Capital Distinction; Srdjan: from Turbo Architecture to Turbo Urbanism Pierre Burdieux: On Distinction & Kant on distinction [TBD]
Oct 16, 2008 Military & Journalism / Territorial agents creating the outside class readings: Misha Glenny, BBC, Slavoj Zizek: Borderline Syndrome
Oct 23, 2008 Military / Srdjan: NATO as Architectural Critic Henri Bergson: Matter and Memory & Gilles Deleuze: Bergsonism.
Oct 30, 2008 Mid-term presentations
Nov 6, 2008 Strategy & Parallel case studies
Screening: Eyal Sivan: Route 181 Eyal Weizman: The Hollow Land; Cyprus [TBD], Mexico/US [TBD].
Nov 13, 2008 Contemporary Artistic Research & Theory M.Suvakovic: Impossible Histories, Rastko Mocnik, Anselm Franke: B-Zone, Olivetti Foundation: The [Un]common Places
Nov 20, 2008 Contemporary Artistic Urban Research, Screening: Shutka Julia Kristeva, Elizabeth Grosz
Dec 4, 2008 Working presentations
Dec 11, 2008 Final presentations / mini symposium