Whiteness, Regionalism and Settler Colonial Identity (Charles L. Davis II, Assistant Professor of Architectural History, University at Buffalo's School of Architecture and Planning)
This talk will examine the ways that transatlantic theories of architectural organicism enabled modern architects to experiment with contrasting portraits of whiteness before the historical fulfillment of Manifest Destiny in the United States. Using the architectural designs of Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bernard Maybeck, it is possible to demonstrate the comparative national origin myths that were celebrated on the East Coast, Midwest Frontier, and West Coast of the United States. From the mythologies of America as a postcolonial nation state to the stories of the white Adamic mountainmen and gold miners who settled the frontier and Asia Pacific respectively, "American Architecture" has routinely been reinvented to legitimize the ideological claims of European settlers. Acknowledging this lineage will enable us to better identify the racial epistemologies of American architecture as it has been imagined in canonical histories from the nineteenth century to the Trump administration.