IAS at the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)

Current Conference

Thalassic Architecture: Medieval & Renaissance Italy and the Sea, organized by Lauren Jacobi, Associate Professor, MIT Architecture, will be the Italian Art Society-affiliated session at the 2018 Annual International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, scheduled to take place 18-22 April 2018 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Conference information and registration is available through the SAH website. The session will be from 11:00 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, 19 April in Meeting Room 3 on the Upper Level of  the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

The speakers and their papers are:

  1. Tamara Morgenstern (Independent Scholar), “Shaping the Littoral: Urban Innovations in Early Modern Messina and Palermo”
  2. Alexander Harper (Princeton University), “State Building and Port Construction in the Angevin Kingdom of Naples”
  3. Elizabeth Kassler-Taub (Case Western Reserve University), “Building with Water: Landscape Urbanism on the Southern Italian Frontier”
  4. Peter Levins (Brown University), “Maritime Modern: Technologies of Space in the Fascist Stato da Mar”

Session Overview

In his seminal text, Nomos of the Earth (1950), the political theorist Carl Schmitt studied the concept of “sea-appropriations.” He observed that such declarations of territory were powerful extensions of traditional terrestrial sovereignty, which included juridical rights over land, applied to the space of the sea. Schmitt asserted that land and sea spatialities became relational during pre-modernity. It was then that the globe was extensively measured, resulting in the first nomos of the earth. Using Schmitt’s claim as a departure point, this session, sponsored by the Italian Art Society, offers a provocation to probe how architecture impacted and was shaped by water bodies—including the Mediterranean, but also lakes and rivers—as they were territorialized. The papers respond to questions of how watery borders were delimited, negotiated, and even extended through architecture. One paper, for example, studies the massive earth- and sea-work transformations undertaken in early modern Messina and Palermo, exploring how such projects were thematized as thalassic architecture and infrastructure. The session’s other papers investigate topics including port construction in the Angevin Kingdom of Naples; the fortification of Renaissance ‘island-cities’ and questions of landscape urbanism on the southern Italian Frontier; and how Fascist Italy’s territorial expansion deliberately tried to reconstitute the former Venetian Stato da Màr in the Eastern Adriatic.

For more information, please email programs@italianartsociety.org

Upcoming Conferences

The IAS is seeking proposals for one IAS-affiliated session at the 72nd annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) in 24-28 April 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island. This conference is geared for architectural historians, art historians, architects, preservationists, landscape architects, urban planners, nonprofits, and civic leaders. Submitting a session proposal to SAH with the support of IAS affiliation increases the chances of its acceptance for the conference, but acceptance is not guaranteed.

Members interested in putting together a panel on any topic of Italian architecture should send a brief abstract (500 words max), session title, a short list of potential or desired speakers (they need not be confirmed), the name(s) of the chair(s) with email addresses and affiliation, and a one-page CV. Please submit all materials to programs@italianartsociety.org by 1 December 2017.

Travel Grants
Presenters at SAH may be eligible for an IAS Travel Grant. Graduate students and scholars within six years of receipt of the PhD who do not hold a tenured position may apply, even if the paper is not presented in an IAS-sponsored session. Deadline 1 November.

Past IAS Sessions at SAH

70th Annual Conference, Glasgow, 2017
69th Annual Conference, Pasadena, 2016
68th Annual Conference, Chicago, 2015
67th Annual Conference, Austin, 2014
66th Annual Conference, Buffalo, 2013

The IAS has been affiliated with the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) since 2011, which brings opportunities for scholarly panels and presentations and other benefits for the IAS members.