Call for Papers: EAUH Helsinki 2016: Women on the Edge: Mobility and Regionalism from the Margins

EAUH Helsinki 2016

European Association for Urban History 2016 Conference:

Reinterpreting Cities

24-27 August 2016, Helsinki, Finland



Deadline: 31 October 2015


Women on the Edge: Mobility and Regionalism from the Margins

 Leading Question: How did transnationally mobile female actors engage and shape the development of a regionalism discourse in the fields of architecture and planning in the twentieth century?

From the mid-twentieth century, the expanding discourses on regionalism in a globalizing field of architecture championed and eventually canonized the works of architects such as Charles Correa, Geoffrey Bawa and Muzharul Islam. In addition to working in emerging nation-states, the family backgrounds, educations and client bases of these architects ensured that they were actively involved in powerful transnational networks.

In this session we will investigate the significance of such transnational mobility in the development of the regionalism debate, shifting the focus critically from canonized male actors to “marginal” female actors—opening this term and the actors it may describe as platforms for debate—including architects, planners, patrons, and users, in order to explore the fringes of architectural and planning history. We aim to find a more inclusive angle from which to examine connections between transnational mobility, regionalism and local lived environments, as well as the geopolitical, social and economic events and processes that catalyzed their intersection.

As a factor of globalization that accompanied the modern colonial and postcolonial moments—whether a function of privileged access to international networks or the result of forced migration—transnationalism and an emerging landscape of cosmopolitan sites offered women new proving ground outside established social, cultural, and commercial spheres. We are particularly interested in the modalities of this peculiar confluence of labor, politics, and culture, noting as examples the practices of Jane Drew in West Africa, Catherine Bauer in India, Minnette de Silva in Hong Kong, and Erica Mann in Kenya, which were contoured by transgressions of the borders of colonies and new nations. We also see that the transnationalism of certain female figures—Jacqueline Tyrwhitt, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Margaret Michaelis—resulted in their profound discursive engagement in modernist debates on regionalism and vernacular or everyday architecture. By studying village housing in the Gold Coast and anonymous architecture in North America and Europe, establishing cottage industries in rural Kenya, or writing histories on Asian regional architecture, many of these agents operated independently of the expected dialogical frameworks between colony and postcolony.

We seek papers that explore the roles, practices, and networks of transnational female actors from the margins; the reception and transmission of their work; and their imbrication with architecture and urbanism discourses on regionalism and the vernacular in the twentieth century.


gender, global south, mobility, postcolonial, regionalism




Specialist session

Session organisers:

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, New York University, USA

Rachel Lee, TU Berlin, Germany

Submission Guidelines:

  • Paper proposals can only be submitted online. Proposals and texts sent by post or email will not be considered. To submit a paper proposal, please create a user account on the abstract system on the EAUH2016 website
  • Abstracts of paper proposals should not exceed 300 words.
  • Deadline for paper proposals submission: October 31, 2015
  • Notification of paper acceptance: December 15, 2015

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