Women in Architectural Periodicals: Gender Stereotypes, Feminist Discourse & the Female Gaze

EAHN 2022 Madrid

School of Architecture of the Universidad Polit├ęcnica de Madrid

June 15 2022 - June 19 2022

There has been much interest recently in the role of architectural periodicals (newspapers, magazines, journals) in the formation of architecture. Scholars such as Andrew Higgott, Beatriz Colomina, and Kester Rattenbury have argued that architectural media defines architecture, suggesting that architectural periodicals should not only be considered as documents that represent architecture, but have the power to generate spaces of architectural production and be considered as works of architecture in their own right.

Nevertheless, as feminist thinking has shown, any editing, framing, and presentation is never neutral, but culturally constructed. The various agents that participated in architectural periodicals were mainly based on different kinds of networks —personal and professional relations between architects, photographers, critics, etc.— that were predominantly masculine. As such, architectural periodicals were part of a patriarchal structure. Some women, however, had notable responsibilities in architectural periodicals with scopes as diverse as Monica Pidgeon in the British Architectural Design (1941-1975) and Beatriz Colomina in the Spanish Carrer de la Citá (1977-1980).

This session aims to explore women in architectural periodicals working under these patriarchal structures. We are therefore looking for texts reflecting on the following issues:

The gaze of women in architectural periodicals: both women in traditionally masculine positions of power and decision making, and women contributors. Was their editing and framing different? Did they create new spaces to publish other women architects’ works? How different were their editorial practices and critique to those of male editors? And how different were the resulting periodicals and architectures?

We welcome critical re-readings of feminist discourses. What was the relationship between periodicals and feminist discourses on the built environment? How can a feminist reading of architectural periodicals reframe the social construction of architecture, and its history?

Women appear in architectural periodicals in two ways: as architects (subject), and in advertisements (object). Women working for periodicals had to live with images that made sexist use of their image, creating gender stereotypes. How could these coexist? How do architectural periodicals understand women as both subject and object?

This session is interested in papers concerning the European context in the twenty century, although not exclusively. Cases from the nineteenth century and from areas far from the dominant focus of architectural discussion in Western, Central European and Anglo-Saxon periodicals are more than welcome.

The Call for Papers is now open and abstracts can be submitted until 6 September 2021