Discipline and Erasure: Women Architects and the Making of Architecture as 'Discipline'

Conference paper


Watkinson, C. 2024. Discipline and Erasure: Women Architects and the Making of Architecture as 'Discipline'. All Ireland Architecture Research Conference . Trinity College, Dublin 14 - 15 Mar 2024
AuthorsWatkinson, C.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

This paper applies E.P Thompson’s mission of rescuing working-people in history from the ‘enormous condescension of posterity’ (1963) to the history of women architects in the making of the discipline of architecture. It traces the history of condescension, culminating in historical erasure, back to the professionalisation of architecture as a discipline in the C19th by considering the potential for structural discrimination embedded in the history of architectural education. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘discipline’ as both ‘a code of behaviour using punishment to correct disobedience’ and as ‘a branch of knowledge typically one studied in higher education’. This paper reflects on both terminologies as they apply to the position of women in the history of architecture. It utilises the National Life Story Collection Architects’ Lives, Matrix Feminist Architecture Archive, and the archives of the Architectural Association to reflect on the experiences of women architects in the twentieth century. In doing so, it highlights the gender disparities affecting women in architecture and the problems posed by Authorised Archival Discourse in excluding women’s voices from the archival record and argues for a radical reengagement with the role of women in architectural history in order to better understand present-day exclusionary structures. It suggests that a feminist praxis focused on positionality, intersectionality, and intermediation with end-users emerges from the experiences of women architects of the past which can inform current architectural pedagogy and practice in the future.

KeywordsWomen; Architecture; History; Archives; Feminism
Year2024
ConferenceAll Ireland Architecture Research Conference
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Publication process dates
Completed15 Mar 2024
Deposited09 May 2024
Copyright holder© 2024, The Author
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