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2010 CONFERENCE: Beirut, Lebanon


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DECEMBER 15-18, 2010

12th Conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments


NEW!!!!: click here to access the latest version of the IASTE 2010 Conference Program


click here to reserve a hotel, register for post-Conference trips, and arrange airport transport


Click here for a pdf version of the IASTE 2010 Conference Poster
Click here for a pdf version of the IASTE 2010 Call for Papers Poster

Accepted Authors: click here to submit your Working Paper to be considered for the Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review Working Paper Series

click here to register for the 2010 Conference

This IASTE conference seeks to study how tradition inspires and informs changing concepts of Utopia in theory and space. Utopian theories and plans emerge from a complex symbiotic relationship with traditions that are based on notions of the ideal. Indeed, utopias cannot be understood without understanding the traditions from which they develop. At its etymological root, utopia embodies both the theoretical paradox of an ideal place, eu-topia, and a non-place, ou-topia, rendering it an impossibility. As an ideal place, utopia relies on tradition, but as a non-place it attempts to negate it. Although most utopias have spatial manifestations, they often attempt to harness and make static the traditions used to create these spaces. The geographies of utopia physically ground tradition, but tradition simultaneously controls these very same geographies. This contemporary moment of economic crisis necessitates a re-examination of this dynamic. The word “utopia” is no longer as commonly referenced in professional practice as it was a few decades ago. However, architects, planners, and politicians continue to look for and disseminate notions of ideal forms. Regulated by ethnicity, religion, or race, the identity enclaves of many modern nations use territory to perpetuate the vision of a perfect community based on specific traditions. The continuation and strengthening of tradition, cloaked in the language of utopia, may thus be seen to provide the focus for new gated communities in the developing world, the dreamscapes in cities around the Persian Gulf and the Pacific Rim, and the faux-colonial homes in American suburbs. On the other hand, there is an emerging discourse that reconceptualizes utopia itself, not as a product but as an open process aimed at transforming, rather than transcending, the existing condition. This conference will focus on the theme of utopia and tradition in the twenty-first century with papers in three different tracks.

Center for Behavioral Research, American University of Beirut
Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut
Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut

College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley
School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon

Nezar AlSayyad, IASTE President, University of California, Berkeley
Mark Gillem, IASTE and Conference Director, University of Oregon
Howayda Al-Harithy, Local Conference Director, American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Sophie Gonick, IASTE and Conference Coordinator, University of California, Berkeley
Leila Solh, Local Conference Coordinator, American University, Beirut, Lebanon

Eeva Aarrevaara, Hesham Khairy Abdelfattah, Heba Farouk Ahmed, Joseph Aranha, Fernando Bontempo, Anne Marie Broudehoux, Greig Crysler, Renu Desai, Mia Fuller, Nelson Graburn, Hildegarde Heynen, Mui Ho, Hassan Udin Khan, Duanfang Lu, Robert Mugerauer, Sylvia Nam, Dietrich Neumann, Mina Rajagopalan, Ipek Tureli, Montira Horayangura Unakul, Dell Upton, Marcel Vellinga

Mona Harb, Samir Khalaf, Jala Makhzoumi

Every year, the Jeffrey Cook award is given to two presenters at the IASTE conference: the author of the best paper by a scholar and the author of the best paper written by a student. The winners will each receive an award of $1,200 award and, after appropriate review and possible revision, their papers will be published in the Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review. The paper should be concerned with the subject of traditional dwellings and settlements in a manner that challenges traditional scholarship on the subject and engages spatial analysis from an interdisciplinary perspective. We strongly encourage all interested participants to indicate that that would like the Award Committee to evaluate their papers.

Please refer to our website (http://iaste.berkeley.edu) to find instructions on how to register for the conference. Registration fees are $400 (including a special discounted individual IASTE membership fee). Students are eligible for reduced fees of $250. These fees include entrance to all conference sessions and plenary sessions, the registration packet with conference preliminaries and program, all conference receptions, and a half-day excursion to the Beirut Central District. All conference presenters must register in order to participate in the conference and be included in the final program. Registration must be completed no later than July 16, 2010. After July 16, conference fees will increase to $500 and $250, respectively.

The conference will be held at American University of Beirut’s West Hall with accommodation at nearby hotels. In order to be able to obtain special room rates, reservations should be made online through

Two optional one day trips are offered at participant’s expense on Sunday, December 19, 2010:

Baalbek, Anjar and Ksara
A full day tour of Baalbek, Anjar and Ksara. A visit to the Bekaa valley, following the big stone, Temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus sites in Baalbek. A visit to the caves and wine tasting at Ksara will take place, following a tour of Anjar’s Omayyads’ town. Lunch will be served in a first class restaurant in Zahleh ($75 per person; full day with lunch)

Byblos, Tripoli and Harisa
The tour will start with the beautiful Phoenician city considered the longest continually inhabited city in the world with its castle, souks, cathedral (dating back to the Crusaders era), port, restaurants, sandy beaches, cafés, and continues to city of Tripoli. It ends in Harissa (one way cable-car) with a panoramic view of Jounieh bay ($75 per person; full day with lunch)

A two day/two night trip to Damascus and Palmyra, Syria, is also available on Monday, December 20-Wednesday, December 22, 2010:

Day 1
Departure from Beirut via Chtaura to the Lebanese-Syrian borders. Formalities then proceed to Damascus. Visits of the National Museum and Anania’s house with lunch at Opaline restaurant (old Damascene house). Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 2
Departure for the full day visits of Palmyra with lunch. Return to Damascus for dinner and overnight.

Day 3
Visits of the Omayyad Mosque, Azm Palace and free time for shopping in old souks with lunch. Return to Beirut.

Rate per person in double or triple room
4 Star Hotel (boutique hotel: Dar Yasmine) US$ 375.
Supplement for single room US$ 80.

5 Star Hotel (boutique hotel: Beit Zaman) US$ 435.
Supplement for single room US$ 175.

The above rates include

- Transportation by Pullman Deluxe with A/C.
- Formalities at borders.
- Accommodation on B/B basis at 4 or 5 star hotels.
- Entrance fees to all the sites mentioned in the program.
- The services of a Syrian English speaking guide.
- The services of a representative from our agency.
- Meals (3 lunches + 2 dinners).
Not included
- Visas and Syrian exit tax for foreigners.
- Drinks and expenses of personal nature.
- Tips for guide, driver, portages, etc…
- Any item not mentioned in the program

Important note
Participants should obtain the Syrian visa before arrival to Lebanon. It is not always issued at the border.

To participate in any of the three additional trips, please visit Nakhal

In many cases, a visa is necessary for travel to Lebanon. While visas are available at the airport for citizens of USA and the EU, it is recommended for all that conference participants procure visas prior to travel. For visa information, please click here

An additional visa may be necessary for participants who attend the post-conference trip to Syria. Please consult your local consulate.

Please use the following information when making inquiries regarding the conference.

Mailing address:

IASTE 2008

Center for Environmental Design Research

390 Wurster Hall #1839

University of California

Berkeley, CA 94720-1839


Phone: 510.642.6801

Fax: 510.643.5571

E-mail: iaste@berkeley.edu

Website: www.ced.berkeley.edu/iaste