The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded MIT's School of Architecture + Planning (SA+P) a $1 million grant to help create a Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative.
Aimed at expanding the consciousness and reach of global history in teaching architecture, the Collaborative includes scholars who, in various ways, will produce classroom materials for teachers and professors in charge of teaching architectural history at the undergraduate or survey level.
This effort does not preclude more advanced level education, but the main purpose of the Collaborative is to transform the discipline "from below" – meaning to help shape the discourse of architectural history by reshaping its teaching at the survey level.
While survey courses in architectural history, as well as in art history and world history, are usually organized by national-based or style-based categories — such as Italian, French, Chinese, and The Renaissance — the Collaborative will emphasize transnational and transgeographical perspectives.
The Collaborative will hold annual teaching conferences and award grants over a three-year period to groups of faculty to create user-friendly teaching materials using global-history frameworks. The material will be made available to teachers and professors worldwide free of cost through a website.
SA+P’s Mark Jarzombek, associate dean and professor, and Vikramaditya Prakāsh of the University of Washington are co-principal investigators. The Board is composed of Jarzombek, Prakāsh, Gail Fenske (Roger Williams University), Adnan Morshed (Catholic University of America), Robert Cowherd (Wentworth Institute of Technology), and Suzanne Marchand (Louisiana State University).
The grant in support of the new MIT program is one of 13 made so far to major institutions of higher education and research. As part of its mission to advance meaningful work in the humanities and the arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2012 launched an initiative, "Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities," to support scholarship and higher education at the intersection of architecture and the humanities. The initiative emphasizes the joint contributions that the humanities and the design and planning disciplines may make to the understanding of the processes and effects of burgeoning urbanization.