Spring 2024

Saving the Unsavable: Historic Preservation Across Cultures

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-223  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-223


Dwight A. Carey (Section 01)
Angela Wheeler (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 223 and ARCH 223) This intermediate level course is a global survey of historic preservation, or the restoration of buildings, spaces, and landscapes in the modern era. We will ask: Why do people feel compelled to preserve the architecture of the past? From the halls of UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to the scholarship on Mayan archaeology that sparked the emergence of a Mexican tourism industry, this question has brought academics, diplomats, business people, and consumers into dialogue worldwide. Nevertheless, preservationists have always struggled to find a compelling answer largely because it is impossible to reproduce the spaces of the past. Historic landscapes from the Buddhist temples of early modern Indonesia to the East African fortresses of the Indian Ocean slave trade offer few surviving documents and so preservationists often use their imagination when reconstructing decaying edifices. In examining the political questions that this predicament elucidates, we will explore a range of issues: the history of UNESCO; historic preservation and tourism in modern Mexico and Turkey; the restoration of Jewish landscapes in contemporary Eastern Europe; restoration campaigns and indigenous knowledge in French West Africa and Dutch Southeast Asia; and the debates concerning preservation in native communities worldwide, among other topics. We will also consider how historic preservation has informed the culture of New England through a series of fieldtrips in which we will meet community members from diverse backgrounds who are working in cultural and historic preservation in the Amherst region. With the aid of smaller papers, presentations, and a final research essay, students will develop their writing and research skills. Students will also hone their skills in critical thinking and visual analysis. No prerequisites.

Spring 2024. Professor Carey.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: An emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, field work and trips, and visual analysis

ARCH 223 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM CHAP 119
W 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM CHAP 119