Call for papers : EAHN thematic conference, “Transgression – A new Paradigm?”

A call for papers has been launched for the EAHN – European Architectural History Network – thematic conference hosted by ENSA Bretagne : Transgression – A New Paradigm?


Transgression – A New Paradigm

November 17-21, 2021

ENSA Bretagne

Rennes, France


Deadline for paper submission

The deadline for submission proposals has been extended to May 16, 2021


Rules played a major role in establishing architecture as a discipline. Norms and canons regulated its entire field, from the conceptualization of architectural thinking to the conceiving of edifices and their further materialization. With the era of modernity, a dense net of normativity was weaved progressively, being institutionalized by the historicization of the discipline at the beginning of the 19th century and extended and complexified by the emergence of mass society. At the core of this normative system, space was raised into an authoritative instrument of power and control as an effective capital producer (see Engels’ The Housing Question), as well as an exclusion marker (see Banister Fletcher’s “non-historical styles”). Space was expected not only to solve the needs of the new era, but also to differentiate and regulate what architecture was and meant.

What happens outside such normative thinking? What about those “non-architectures” disregarded by Banister Fletcher – comprising, besides the “styles” of peripheral cultures, the informal dwellings of precarious populations? What about the furtive shelters of those deprived of space (homeless/ migrants/ refugees…)? Is architecture conceivable solely within regulated boundaries? What happens when they are trespassed and when rules are broken? Transgression and transgressive acts were always part of architecture. Bataille had explicitly stated this intrusion in his interwar dictionary, while Tschumi perceived it half a century later as the actual condition of architecture. However, beyond any such constant play and bargaining with normativity, we have recently witnessed an accumulation and multiplication of transgressive manifestations in the architectural field. It is as if transgression – as concept, positioning and posture – would ask to be understood as an episteme: a paradigm showing the way out of modernity. 

The conference aims to look at transgression in its manifold forms and stances – not only as a reaction against norms and rules, but in particular as an answer to our agitated times of  radical (and highly anxiogenic) mutations. By doing so, we propose to analyze transgression both as tactics of survival and as strategy against the operating system(s). If our inquiry seems to address the immediate present, we definitely pose modernity with its dense net of normativity as the fundament that generated the recent wave of transgressiveness. Hence we believe that only by analyzing this historic causality and by going beyond the contingent alternative nature of transgression can we understand the deep causes, dynamics and mechanisms of its eruption.

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Guidelines and deadlines

Click here to download the call for papers

Key dates

  • 16 May 2021: deadline for sending proposals

  • 30 June 2021: notification of the selection

  • 29 August 2021: drafts of the papers to be sent to the session chairs

  • 17-21 November 2021: conference

EAHN Conference Calendar

EAHN 2021 Sixth International Meeting
Online, organised by the University of Edinburgh, UK
2-5 June 2021 
Registration open

EAHN Tirana: History in Transition
Tirana, Albania
8-10 July 2021

EAHN Ankara: Architecture and Endurance
Ankara, Turkey
30 September – 2 October 2021

EAHN Rennes: Transgression – A New Paradigm?
Rennes, France
17-21 November 2021
CfP deadline extended: 16 May 2021

EAHN 2022 Seventh International Meeting
Madrid, Spain
15-19 June 2022
CfP now open

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