Few buildings can claim a longer history of interdisciplinary influence than the Tower of Babel. This seminar studies the various arenas of Babel’s appropriation—archaeological, art historical, theoretical, philosophical, theological, ideological, military, linguistic, and literary—with an eye to understanding the multivalence of architectural ideas as they circulate within culture. The course pays particular attention to Babel’s dramatic reassertion under the conditions of modernity, as a marker both of aspiration and of doubt; and it aims to speculate on the Tower’s potential future. Weekly readings and assignments provide a foundation for in-class presentations and final research papers, either on an aspect of the appropriation of Babel itself, or on the trajectory of a comparable architectural figure. Papers that engage with the construction of contemporary architectural ideas are especially welcome. Limited enrollment.