2012—2013 Forum on Peripheries
South Asia Studies Librarian, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
The Centrality of Peripheries: Pre-modern Architectural Processes
I wish to engage the central scholarship of architectural history, which has relied on central visual qualities of 'style', with the peripheral and marginalized aspect of 'construction.' The former provides a historic account with all its inherent biases, whereas the latter provides the unwritten history of the building. This relationship between style and construction has been hierarchical, reducing construction to the periphery in the history of architecture. The marginalization of unwritten forms of knowledge, heuristic and otherwise, has led to a skewed understanding of architectural history as a social practice. The history of architecture has been largely based on socially privileged sources such as texts, and needs to reclaim peripheral voices in society that have been ignored. Such voices are embodied in construction practices.