April 9 | The End is Redemption: Memory and Design in the Making of a More Beloved Charleston

Join Assistant Professor Nathaniel Walker on April 9 for the final program in the Spring 2019 Faculty Lecture Series.

The design of architecture and urban design are often imagined as essentially passive activities. Our buildings, spaces, and infrastructure reflect who we are, communicating the cultural values and social processes that were in place before design and construction began.

As Winston Churchill said, however: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Charleston offers an environment of great beauty and splendor, but its streets and squares are haunted by America’s original sin: slavery. That terrible institution shaped this city in many ways, and now its legacy is hardwired into the place.

What might happen if we turned to both history and design as agents of reform, in which the crime of slavery was hunted and illuminated in the old fabric of our city, and its bitter legacies actively attacked in the ongoing design and construction of our architectural and urban body? Could such serve to further cultural, social, economic, and political reform? Can we redeem the past and craft the future, building what Martin Luther King, Jr. prophesied was “the Beloved Community?”

When: Tuesday, April 9 | 12:00 pm

Where: Addlestone Library Rm. 227

Tickets: FREE and open to the public. Registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

Dr. Nathaniel R. Walker is Assistant Professor of Architectural History at the College of Charleston. He earned his Ph.D. at Brown University in the History of Art and Architecture, an MA in Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a BA in History (with a minor in German) at Belmont University. Nathaniel specializes in the history of public space such as squares and streets, particularly in the United States and Europe, but he has also worked with the urban forms of the Classic Maya and with Chinese Daoist architectural representations. He has focused many of his studies on the relationships between architecture, urban planning, and utopian dreams of progress and futurity that proliferated in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, film, advertising, and other media. His research has been published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural HistoriansTraditional Dwellings and Settlements ReviewUtopian Studies, a number of edited volumes, and was featured in an exhibition he curated at Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery entitled Building Expectation: Past and Present Visions of the Architectural Future. He has given formal research presentations in many different places, from Beirut to Oxford University, from Malaysia to Harvard and the Courtauld Institute. He is currently developing his dissertation on the architecture and urbanism of nineteenth-century utopian novels into a book, and working on a myriad of other smaller projects, on topics both near to and far from the historic peninsula of Charleston.

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