2019 Member Testimonials
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the GAHTC initiative for the future of the discipline. As someone who has seen a half dozen large-scale Mellon foundation projects up close, I can easily say that this will be the most consequential, influential, and far-reaching. Disciplines are complicated "ships" that are very difficult to turn; they develop deep path dependencies over time. Pushing them in new directions requires incredible work, commitment, flexibility, insight, collegiality, and humility. The leaders of the GAHTC have proven themselves adept in all these respects, and have constructed a brilliant scaffolding for a scholarly community focused on teaching. If we can finally decolonize the discipline of architectural history and how we teach it, it will be because of their hard work.
The GAHTC grant has been indispensable in giving me the time and resources to create a new teaching module. The leadership have encouraged us to move beyond standard and traditional survey materials grounded in a canonical "greatest hits of Western Civ" approach. The grant gives us, as teachers, license to think big, to cast a broad net, and to think about how to tell richer and more diverse stories about the world. I am only half way through the creation of my module, but it has already generated many ideas for how I will change other lectures in my courses. And the modules produced by my colleagues and uploaded to the GAHTC web site have already proven invaluable in my teaching. This really is one of the best professional initiatives I have ever had the pleasure to engage.
--Joseph Heathcott, The New School
GAHTC has had a transformational effect on the profession of architectural history and it is important to ensure it has a long and sustainable life.
We at SAH who have attended your annual conferences and pedagogical workshops have benefitted tremendously because they enabled us to better understand the plight of new and non-tenure-track faculty members. As a result of the valuable lessons learned from GAHTC, we at SAH hope to continue collaborating with GAHTC on creating pedagogical programs, workshops, fellowships, and opportunities to help the next generation of scholars who teach architectural history under difficult circumstances in colleges and universities worldwide.
-- Pauline Saliga, Executive Director, SAH
Becoming a GAHTC member definitively improved my teaching practice in many ways. Based on my experience on researching about relationships between Islamic world and Latin America, I teach Architectural History focusing on intercultural processes from a global perspective. Nevertheless, leaving the traditional Eurocentric syllabus implies an enormous obstacle: the lack of bibliographical sources and teaching material (even more in Spanish language). Before joining GAHTC I only counted with M. Jarzombek and V. Prakash book. GAHTC gave me the opportunity to use a giant library focused on the specific topics that I need for my teaching and also to contribute with it.
What it is more and fundamentally, GAHTC introduced me into a huge global network of colleagues working with the same perspective and it has opened infinite paths of mutual collaboration to grow as a community. Since I have joined GAHTC, I have worked in six specific projects –papers, sessions, workshops, conferences- with at least twenty colleagues from all over the world that I met via GAHTC.
--Fernando Martinez Nespral, University of Buenos Aires
I have to say that I had a great experience at the Member´s Conference in Miami. The possibility to share our experiences in how we teach history with many colleges was very satisfactory. It was very interesting to be part of the lectures as an assistant and in my particular case, I could give my opinion in some of them. To share our experiences enriches our work as teachers.
I think, what GAHTC brings me as a teacher, helps me to be a better professional. I have a list of lectures to download soon, and I´m looking forward to prepare a new lecture to contribute with the web site.
I´m glad to be part of this Project!
--Sylvia Kornecki, University of Buenos Aires
As a junior scholar and adjunct instructor of architectural and urban history, I have found the GAHTC to be an immensely stimulating community of active and engaged teachers. The organization encourages progressive approaches to pedagogy and facilitates them in exciting and truly eye-opening ways. The opportunities the GAHTC provides—particularly for those in more junior positions who are still developing teaching approaches and techniques and for whom funding and mentorship may be lacking—are invaluable.
--Daniel Coslett, University of Washington
GAHTC has created a unique meeting and dialog platform for teachers who are based in different parts of the globe and who, as scholars, specialize in different regions and periods. Being able to discuss my pedagogical ideas with them was a precious and highly valuable opportunity, which not only allowed me to learn about topics I had previously been unaware of (and connect them to my own research and teaching), but also opened my mind to a variety of different perspectives and viewpoints. As a recipient of a targeted acquisition grant, I highly benefited from the feedback provided by my GAHTC colleagues and now look forward to completing the lecture series addressing their comments and suggestions.
-- Alla Vronskaya, IIT
I have found GAHTC’s online platform an invaluable resource that could transform the next generation of teaching architectural history. I have had the chance to explore a few of GAHTC modules and have only admiration for the quality and depth of lectures. The annual conference, too, is an important venue for discussing teaching architectural history, which is absent in research-oriented conferences.
--Solmaz Kive, University of Oregon
It was an intellectual pleasure to discuss teaching with so many distinguished colleagues and with colleagues from such diverse institutions. These topics are rarely the focus of other professional gatherings in academia, and my sense of confidence and awareness of resources for teaching architectural history with a more global focus grew with each session at the meeting.
--Elaine Stiles, Roger Williams University
I approached GAHTC in the year 2017 as a way to make possible a longing for the academic community in my University to extend the classes of history of architecture beyond the European horizon. So, I participated in the meeting in Los Angeles, which was fundamental to establish a first approximation with colleagues from all over the world who have faced this same challenge, as well as knowing the didactic material produced by the members, which I could already incorporate in the classes . In 2018 I also participated in a seminar on teaching history in Latin America, promoted by the GAHTC in Quito, which was am fantastic experience, and expanded my networking with colleagues who work in realities closer to mine. Now, two years have passed, and at the GAHTC event in Miami I believe I have been able to participate more actively in the discussions, since we have all used the didactic material produced by the group and we can now make a more mature evaluation of its use. In addition, I believe that the Miami event has confirmed the importance of establishing cooperation networks, since on small group conversations have allowed the construction of solid partnerships among teachers from different regions, which is extremely relevant in our goal to a global history of architecture.
--Leandro Manenti, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
I really appreciated the opportunity to attend the GAHTC conference in Miami a few weeks ago. It provided a friendly environment and extremely stimulating discussions. I liked especially how much of the discussion was focused on the challenge of reaching survey students at a variety of levels at a broad spectrum of institutions. In any world history survey, this is a key concern. One of my most memorable discussions outside of the panels involved the topic of how to communicate to students that history really matters. Sometimes we need to be reminded of our foundations, and this conference was a great venue for these complex issues. In addition, I felt that the conference provided both emotional and practical support for my ongoing project. The conference organizers did a wonderful job bringing the participants together as a community. Based on my positive experience in Miami, I am really looking forward to future meetings and events.
--Rebecca Boone, Lamar University
Participating in the Members’ Conference allowed me to frame my own teaching in a context of pedagogical practice and emerging questions of the field. Understanding the differences between what is customary in the United States and other parts of the world and speaking with colleagues who are facing different challenges and who could tell me about the state of affairs and topics currently debated at their schools, was a truly rich experience that convinced me of the need to exchange thoughts with those who work in my field but have different perspectives. The Members’ Conference also allowed me to establish closer ties with people from my own region (Latin America). All of the above will surely lead to proposals to be made within and beyond the the GAHTC. I believe that the GAHTC, as a collective of teachers rather than architectural historians, has the potential to lead the way in the discussions on what, why, where, how and with which resources architectural history should or could be taught. Attending the conference made me want to actively participate in these discussions.
-- Maarten Goossens, Universidad de los Andes
I have been a member of GAHTC for only a few months but I have already found my membership to be very rewarding. I particularly enjoyed being able to attend this year's Member's Conference in Miami. I appreciated the opportunity to listen to several wonderful presentations on the current state of global architectural history, discuss teaching methods, and meet new colleagues from all over the world. I am looking forward to revising my teaching based on what I observed and learned.
-- Alexander Hilton Wood, UCLA
I am very pleased that GAHTC has been established. It is an important matter to understand architectural history as a global and multi-layered interconnected issue. The modules and lectures offered online are an excellent help in dealing with topics for which research time is often lacking. In addition, the conferences provide a unique opportunity to communicate with peers on a global scale on the teaching of architectural history. My personal experiences with GAHTC have been consistently positive and I am happy to be a part of this community. Moreover, the quality of the organisation - both in terms of meetings and communication and support - is excellent.
--Tino Mager, TU Delft
The GAHTC is very important for me because it provides the discussion that as a professor I hardly have time to approach with other colleagues in my country. It also helps you to upgrade in a broad set of topics, it creates networking between professionals and universities, it helps to improve your own teaching experiences and develop ideas for research.
-- Silvia Arroyo, Universidad de Panamá
I wish there were more workshops and conferences focused on course content, preparation, and teaching, so I am grateful to the GAHTC for providing this opportunity and convening us for this purpose. I found the parallel/breakout sessions to be particularly helpful; it was wonderful to get to know my colleagues in the field via these smaller group settings. Feedback: perhaps it would also make sense in the future to shorten the introductory and concluding sessions to include more breakout sessions, specifically sessions solely dedicated to workshopping an idea (or ideas) among participants who have common interests. This would have been especially helpful since there are grant opportunities to pursue and GAHTC individuals on hand who could answer questions as participants brainstorm ideas on site.
-- Saima Ahktar, Yale University
The GAHTC conference was a very positive experience. This conference promotes a real sense of community and collaboration among architecture history faculty from around the country. This is not present in other conferences where so much time is spent presenting research that we cannot discuss pedagogical approaches or working together to build new ideas. The workshop format of the GAHTC conference was quite beneficial for discussing approaches to teaching architecture history. I enjoyed working collaboratively to try to rewrite the learning outcomes and standards for the NAAB accreditation. Overall, I enjoyed the more open nature of the discussion both in the sessions and over the lunch breaks.
I have been inspired by the conference to use the GAHTC resources to rethink many of my lectures. It inspired me to apply for an internal grant from my school to improve the way I cover Native American sites. I also plan to apply for a grant from GAHTC to run a workshop to continue discussions form the conference. The time has certainly come to question the way the survey is taught. This organization is helping to inspire and support faculty to rethink their syllabi. It is a necessary organization that fills a gap in the profession of architecture history.
--Susanne Cowan, Montana State University
Most of my survey existed before GAHTC, with the exception of the First Societies Lecture. However I did not teach colonialism until Robert Cowherd and I learned it for our first Module, and transformed the way I teach the Triangle Trade. Learning the Native American southwest material for GAHTC completely changed the way I teach all pre-European Americas. I use the Modules to augment my existing lectures and for new materials that I did not know how to teach. The best thing about this the Mellon Funded GAHTC is the community of people who think teaching global history is important. I learn something new at every conference, and it makes it into my courses before the lectures come out.
--Patrick Haughey, Savannah College of Art & Design
Since I met GAHCT in November 2018 until the present day I have received support from this initiative, which allowed me to participate in three important meetings:
- The “Nuestro norte es el Sur” workshop in Quito, Ecuador, coordinated by Ana María León and Fernando Nespral.
- The GAHTC annual meeting in Miami, FL.
- The GAHTC “Teacher-to-teacher” workshop, also coordinated by Ana María León during the SAH Annual Conference in Providence, RI.
In short time I not only have been able to expand my network, getting in contact with people who I never could meet out of these meetings and whose work is crucial to my current research, but to rethink the content and methods of my historic surveys and lectures, from a global approach. The discussions during the workshop were challenging but rich, since they mixed people from different ages, geographic origins, subjects of interest and levels of scholarship. All of them were and invitation to open my mind and problematizing history from an innovating perspective, and also to develop empathy about the way my students might feel when attending my courses.
Finally, and talking specifically about the Miami meeting, despite not being a workshop itself, we were able to share the conclusions on our experience in Quito with professors based in other regions, getting to acknowledge better the current situation of the architectural history in the USA and to express our concerns regarding several dimensions of our teaching. In addition to that, the organization of the meeting by Eliana AbuHamdi Murche (MIT) was perfect and we all had efficient communication with her.
I definitively believe the GAHTC is a wonderful initiative which empowers the careers of tenured and younger scholars like me, as well as graduate students.
--Ingrid Quintana Guerrero, Universidad de los Andes
The 2019 GAHTC meeting provided an opportunity to get together with like-minded people and explore the extensive, invaluable teaching resources that have been painstakingly and meticulously prepared and carefully curated. The meeting itself is a unique, non-competitive environment where emerging and established scholars and teachers from around the world come together to share enthusiasm for global architecture in a collegial manner. Relationships are forged which lead to collaborations. The GAHTC meeting reinvigorates people to go ahead forth with the teaching of architectural history and the preservation of invaluable global cultural heritage.
-- Elizabeth Grant, RMIT University
The time spent at GAHTC workshops and conferences has greatly influenced how I teach. As much as, or perhaps even more than, the quite useful lecture content that GAHTC has produced, the time I have spent talk with other members about how and why they teach has deeply shaped a more global and inclusive approach to the classroom.
-- Bryan Norwood, University of Michigan
As a professor at a primarily undergraduate institution, I have spent most of the past 16 years teaching various surveys of global architectural history. Even still, there are many topics – especially those outside Western Europe and North America – that I never felt I did justice to. For example, lecturing on Mesoamerica has been difficult because the literature is fragmented and is produced mainly by archaeologists. The GAHTC teaching module "Shaping Place in Mesoamerica" has been very useful in presenting a coherent, consistent treatment that I can incorporate into my own lectures.
In addition, the 2019 GAHTC conference proved to be the most useful conference I've attended in many years. Since all the participants shared a commitment to improving the teaching of global architectural history, the environment was extremely open and supportive. In addition, it seemed that all participants, even junior faculty and graduate students, felt at ease, which allowed a more relaxed and productive exchange of ideas than is typical at conferences.
--Don Choi, California Polytechnic State University
The conference was an extraordinary experience that made me even more passionate about our field (architectural history and theory). I especially appreciate the clarity, simplicity, and accessibility of the GAHTC vocabulary and message – in the existing teaching material and during the conference.
Furthermore, I believe that the teacher-to-teacher exchange of ideas and material is what we really need today. The conference made me aware even more of the importance of global connections (internally and externally) and, especially, the importance of my own part of the world that has been sitting between East and West forever; I realized that there is a major gap to be filled in here. Parallels that show how people (influences) were moving, and what was the global situation and global dynamics at a certain time; interpretation of how people were motivating and pushing each other; and argumentative and interrogative approach to architectural history - is what inspires and provokes on further thinking. This is what I learn from GAHTC downloaded material.
-- Renata Jadresin Milic,Unitec Institute of Technology
My experience with GAHTC cannot be more pleasant. My first contact with the association was thanks to one of their grants. I participated in a meeting in Quito, where we met several professors interested in the Latin American area and we were able to contrast our experiences and share concerns. The experience was so productive that I did not hesitate to request my immediate incorporation to GAHTC and participate in their annual members’ conference in Miami. This meeting did not disappoint me. They were two days of learning and understanding of architecture beyond the usual limits. I can only say that I came back with the intention not only to continue participating in these meetings, but to actively collaborate in the association and try to share my knowledge with them. This type of initiative is what we need to evolve in the teaching of architecture worldwide. Thank you so much for your support to the GAHTC!
-- Ana Esteban Maluenda, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Inspiring and challenging are the two words that summarize for me the GAHTC Member´s
Conference 2019. It was very helpful to know and share new ways of facing the teaching of history from different realities in a global world. At the same time, it was the opportunity to establish new academic relationships and propose collaborations on the history teaching.
--Jose Javier Alayon Gonzales, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
I joined GAHTC during the summer 2018 after being encouraged to do so by several colleagues at different institutions. Although I am recently retired from teaching, I continue to work actively in the field of architectural history and am interested in contributing to GAHTC by developing teaching materials that can be used by others. Attending the Members’ Conference for the first time, I was introduced to the organization’s overall mission and approach. But particularly important for understanding GAHTC were the various presentations by grant recipients discussing their teaching modules and giving sample lectures.
--Lydia M. Soo, University of Michigan
For me, the GAHTC’s meetings have over the years have remained instrumentally refreshing given their immense breadth and challenges of approach. Within the template of planned and serendipitous discussions, I have especially appreciated the Collaborative’s ability to make me acutely ‘self-conscious’ about how I substantially change as a result of my participation at each such meeting. And the ‘humbling’ realisation that our efforts as a critical cohort have little to do with who we individually are, but instead how we stand together against other ways of ‘looking at the world’ which remain entrenched and deep-rooted. I have always looked at scholarly meetings as ‘provocations’ (versus presentations), but the ‘persuasive provocation’ that GAHTC espouses is so worth the long travel (and jet lag). Meanwhile, GAHTC materials enrich my own courses, not just in content directly, but more importantly in their ‘aspirational content’, whereby my experimentation with ways of thinking anew reinforces my excitement – that I am changing students’ minds, one at a time. The Survey then becomes a ‘disruptor’ and a window into a complicated world!
-- Manu Sobti, The University of Queensland
GAHTC II Testimonials
“You might be interested to learn that GAHTC workshop prompted ideas to establish a public humanities center [at Tufts University] in which questions of architecture, public space and historic preservation would figure prominently. The background for this is the current plan of Tufts, my university, to acquire the art school of the MFA. At the moment, the university is still in the process of exploring the benefits and risks of such a move. The excitement is tangible though... [and] the GAHTC experience inspired me to reach out to a number of people to brainstorm about the importance of teaching global architectural history in the wider context of a public humanities center or institute which could/should include artists working the realm of public art. It is too early to tell if these ideas will have any traction and / or yield anything substantial. But the GAHTC experience has made the exercise meaningful and stimulating.”
-- Peter Probst, Professor and Chair, Department of Art History, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Tufts University
“The GAHTC has already impacted my classroom as well as my research. Among the architecture history faculty at Savannah College of Art and Design, I am responsible for most of the surveys. Since we began this project I have altered almost all of them, using the format that Robert Cowherd and I have designed. My students are very excited to have up to date research."
-- Patrick D. Haughey, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Architecture History, Savannah College of Art and Design
“I began my interaction with the GAHTC as an outsider, but the experience has inspired me to invent a whole new course on the history of the city since 1500; I taught it for the first time to a class of 100 students last spring. The course was so successful that my colleagues are developing a parallel pre-1500 course, one that can also be modified for study abroad summer courses. Watching others present their lectures has made me think deeply about my pedagogy, and has improved my own presentations. I am now working with a group of architectural historians on a series of lectures on eastern and western crossroads from the late antique to the late medieval period, and greatly expanding my horizons as a result."
--Suzanne Marchand, Professor of History, Louisiana State University
“These sessions enhance my teaching by providing new examples, information about global architecture issues and demonstration of how architecture world-wide may be connected by purpose and impacted by international events/issues. I have specifically used examples presented in the lectures [in my own classroom] and always benefit from the opportunity to re-think what I am doing in light of others' work.”
--Judith Hull, Architectural Historian, Emerson College, Boston
“I think this project is an ambitious and generous idea that allows everyone to understand "local" architecture and urban phenomena in a global perspective. That is remarkable.”
--Shariff S. Kahatt, Faculty of the School of Architecture and Urbanism, Pontifical University of Peru, Lima, Peru
“Last week I presented one of my GAHTC colleague's lecture on Medieval Roads. The lecture was much more complex and richer than I had realized when I first read it for internal review and I could only get through 1/3 of it. But now that I have delivered it once, I know what slight adjustments to make to fit it to teaching method. This lecture is a scholarly piece of work as well as a lecture...I have three more lectures out this package yet to give, but I must say, they have raised the quality of my teaching considerably. I could have never done this on my own and without the structural support of GAHTC.”
--Shundana Yusaf, Assistant Professor, History and Theory School of Architecture, University of Utah