TDSR 7.1 Fall 1995

CREATING ONE’S FUTURE FROM ONE’S PAST: NONDEFENSIVELY
Janet L. Abu-Lughod

FROM VERNACULARISM TO GLOBALISM: THE TEMPORAL REALITY OF TRADITIONAL SETTLEMENTS
Nezar AlSayyad

BODY, SETTLEMENT, LANDSCAPE: A COMPARISON OF HOT AND COOL HUMID PATTERNS
Robert Mugerauer

THE AMERICAN RANCH HOUSE: TRADITIONAL DESIGN METHOD IN MODERN POPULAR CULTURE
Thomas C. Hubka

CYCLES OF SUSTENANCE IN TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE
Suha Özkan

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Volume 7.1

CREATING ONE’S FUTURE FROM ONE’S PAST: NONDEFENSIVELY
Janet L. Abu-Lughod

“There are people who have created for themselves a romantic picture of a glorious past that is far from accurate. They wish to see the living Indian return to an age that has long passed and they resent any changes in his art.”

“To rob a people of tradition is to rob it of inborn strength and identity. To rob a people of opportunity to grow through invention or through acquisition of values from other races is to rob it of its future.”

— Frederick Douglas and Rene d’Harnoncourt, curators of the 1941 “Indian Art in the United States” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

This paper is essentially an expanded exegesis based on the trenchant quotation above, which was on display at the new Indian Museum when it opened in the “old” (nineteenth-century!) Alexander Hamilton Customs House in lower Manhattan, New York, in the fall of 1994.

FROM VERNACULARISM TO GLOBALISM: THE TEMPORAL REALITY OF TRADITIONAL SETTLEMENTS
Nezar AlSayyad
The changes that the world has undergone over the past two decades have created a new global order which requires a dramatically altered understanding of the role of traditional settlements in the reconstruction of history. Using a model which is based on recognizing the historic inevitability of dominant relationships between the so-called First and Third Worlds, the paper proposes four historic phases relevant to the study of traditional settlements: the insular period, the colonial period, the era of independence and nation-building, and the present era of globalization. Four accompanying settlement forms — the indigenous vernacular, the hybrid, the modern or pseudo-modern, and the postmodern — are identified and linked to these historic periods. The paper examines the evolution of the concept of national identity and its use in understanding the changes that traditional settlements have undergone. It suggests that the condition of hybridity introduced during the colonial period have reconfigured indigenous forms. It also suggests that the influences of modernity accompanying nation-building and independence movements have resulted in the reinvention of various traditions. It concludes that in the era of globalization the forms of settlements are likely to reflect rising levels of awareness of the ethnic, racial and religious associations of the communities within which they exist.

BODY, SETTLEMENT, LANDSCAPE: A COMPARISON OF HOT AND COOL HUMID PATTERNS
Robert Mugerauer
This article presents the findings of a cross-climatic, cross-cultural phenomenological study of bodily experiences, built form and settlement patterns, and hot-humid and cool-humid landscapes. It results from field work in the rain forests of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and the Olympic Peninsula north and west of Seattle, U.S.A. For these two rain forest areas the article describes and interprets the embodied life-world experiences of the climatic realm (both physiological and culturally modulated); the characteristics of the specific rain forest environment; and the correlation of these dimensions with both housing materials, structures and uses and settlement orientations and forms. Finally, the article proposes tentative points of similarity and difference between the two humid environments studied. An empirical gestalt emerges: with interesting differences, both coherent indigenous worlds are complex, heterogeneous, and “closed-in.” These characteristics are quite opposite to the modern, Western conception of space as the homogeneous context for “preferred” clear and distinct perception and behavior.

THE AMERICAN RANCH HOUSE: TRADITIONAL DESIGN METHOD IN MODERN POPULAR CULTURE
Thomas C. Hubka
The ranch house, as it developed in American suburban communities after World War II, is a curious hybrid. On the one hand, it represented an embodiment in physical form of the traditional values of those middle-class Americans who freely chose it for a living environment and for whom it represented the fulfillment of a social ideals. And yet the ranch house cannot be said to be a “traditional” building type in the historical sense. It owed much to both modern aesthetic ideas and modern means of production. At a time when single-family homeownership is becoming an increasingly global aspiration, it is important to understand how the ranch house provided a reconciliation between the forces of vernacularism and modernism. Despite elitist aesthetic critiques and critiques of the society that created it, the ranch house was the confident product of confident communities.

CYCLES OF SUSTENANCE IN TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE
Suha Özkan

A major achievement of traditional environments research over the past decades has been to show how forms of building cannot be understood outside broader socio-cultural and economic contexts. It has led to an understanding of how observable built environments reflect underlying cycles of behavior. Such a relationship is documented in this study of the transformation of Akçaalan, a village on the Bodrum Peninsula in southern Anatolia. Over the last twenty years long-standing cultural cycles of sustenance centered around water distribution and grain production have been broken or disrupted as a result of the fundamental change in the area from an agricultural to a tourist economy. The research shows that architectural idioms can only be preserved when corresponding social, economic and cultural activities are sustained and developed. If the new tourist economy of the area were now to decline, older historical cycles that tied people to the land and led to a distinctive local architectural idiom could not be restored.

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