Civilizations have independently blossomed in seven distinct regions at di≠erent moments in time: in Mesopotamia, the Nile River Valley, the Indus Valley, ancient China, the Mediterranean, Mesoamerica, and the Andean coast. Of these seven radiations of civilization, our architectural and urban history courses tend to focus on two or three. The main purpose of this research seminar is to contribute toward a growing study of architectural typologies and urban constellations characteristic of ancient pre-Columbian civilizations, with a focus on the relationships they established with their environment. The central premise of this seminar, to be examined and questioned, is that the characteristic urban model or settlement system that evolved in the Americas was profoundly territorial, intertwining agriculture, settlement, infrastructure, and landscape. These dynamic, dispersed, sometimes migratory urbanisms were structured as geographical networks of exchange, or constellations of cacicazgos, curacazgos, or señoríos (chiefdoms). Their form responded to an animistic and spiritual reading of place and placement, and to the need of managing whole regions, often located in complex ecologies such as the Central or South American rain forests, the arid coasts of Peru, or the rough Andean cordillera. Drawing and writing are our main modes of inquiry. Each student analyzes a particular territorial system and a specific node within it throughout the term. The outcomes of the seminar will be collected into a digital publication. Limited enrollment.

All Semesters

Fall 2020
Territorial Cities of Pre-Colonial America
Ana María Durán Calisto