Operative History and Architecture

The group will read the work of Manfredo Tafuri, an architectural historian, theorist, and Marxist intellectual, with room for exploration of related texts. We will begin by doing a close reading of Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development (1979) in order to examine Tafuri’s conception of “operative history,” his translation of Marxism from critical theory to bear on architecture, and his depictions of architecture and capitalism.

We welcome all participants and hope to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion! 

The group will meet once a week during the semester to discuss the selected text. We expect to spend the first six weeks or so with Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development, and then move on to other works by Tafuri. Readings from Marx and secondary literature on Tafuri will be offered. Each week, group participants will take turns leading the discussion by directing the group to quotes from the text. 

Sample Texts - Primary

Tafuri, Manfredo. Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development. Translated by Barbara Luigia La Penta. Cambridge, Mass., 1979.

———. (January-April 1969) 2000. “Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology.” In Architecture Theory Since 1968, edited by K. Michael Hays, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, 2–35. MIT Press.

———. The Sphere and the Labyrinth: Avant-Gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970s. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995.

———. Theories and History of Architecture. New York, 1981.

For further info, schedule and readings check with: Carrie Bly, [email protected] and Guillermo S. Arsuaga, [email protected]