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Theses Doctoral

The Incommensurability of Modernity: Architecture and the Anarchic from Enlightenment Revolutions to Liberal Reconstructions

Minosh, Peter

This dissertation examines the architecture of the French, American, and Haitian revolutions as well as the French 1848 Revolution and the Paris Commune. The traditional historiography of neoclassical and Beaux-Arts architecture considers it as coextensive with the establishment of the nation-state, culminating in the institution building of the French Second Empire and postbellum United States under the banner of liberal nationalism. By examining moments of insurrection against the state and spaces outside of the conventional construal of the nation, I complicate this interpretation by highlighting its slippages and crises. My hypothesis is that democracy, as a form of social and political life, is intrinsically anarchic and paradigmatically revolutionary, and that architecture cultivates the aims and paradoxes of revolution. Revolutionary conditions, I argue, render this radical capacity of architecture salient, showing the ultimate incommensurability between architecture and the regimes that determine and delimit it.

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Academic Units
Architecture
Thesis Advisors
Martin, Reinhold I.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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