TDSR 25.2 Spring 2014

Editor’s Note

The Resilience of Myth: The Politics of the American Dream
John Archer
Dubai’s Heritage House Museums: A Semiosis of Melancholy
John Biln and Mohamed El-Amrousi
The Paradox of Representation and Practice in the Auburn University Rural Studio
Anna G. Goodman
“Transplanting” Yin Yu Tang to America: Preservation, Value, and Cultural Heritage
Han Li
Architecture of the Adelaide Mosque: Hybridity, Resilience and Assimilation
M. Mizanur Rashid and Katharine Bartsch

Book Reviews

 
 
 


Editor’s Note

The Resilience of Myth: The Politics of the American Dream
John Archer
During the twentieth century the myth of the American dream, synonymous with upward
mobility and especially ownership of a single-family detached house, became a mainstay
of the American political system and of American popular culture. The economic crisis of
2006–2012 profoundly shook confidence in this myth. In consequence, the myth-dream
has been exposed to unprecedented efforts to abandon, critique, redefine and appropriate
it. This essay analyzes those efforts and what they demonstrate about the vulnerability and
durability of myth in the American political and cultural landscape.

Dubai’s Heritage House Museums: A Semiosis of Melancholy
John Biln and Mohamed El-Amrousi
Although spectacular resorts and high-profile shopping venues now symbolize Dubai,
the city has an important heritage of residential buildings, many of which have recently
been reconstructed as small museums. This article analyzes several of these projects: the
Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Museum, the Al-Siraaj Gallery in the Obaid and Jumaa bin
Thani house, the Majlis Gallery in the Mir Abdullah Amiri house, and the Dubai National
Museum. It argues that together these house museums register a profound sense of melancholy
in the face of an urban fabric being relentlessly developed by forces largely unresponsive
to history, heritage, or cultural continuity.

The Paradox of Representation and Practice in the Auburn University Rural Studio
Anna G. Goodman
This article evaluates the Auburn University Rural Studio, a design-build community outreach
program located in Hale County, Alabama. As humanitarian architecture, the
program has received significant attention in the architectural and popular media. Little
attention has been paid, however, to the representational strategies that shape Rural Studio
participants’ self-understanding, the public’s appreciation of its practices, and ultimately,
the program’s ethical premise. Through an examination of a series of representations
surrounding the program, this article concludes that institutional and economic systems
that require conflict-free depictions of the poor and their environments limit the program’s
critical function.

“Transplanting” Yin Yu Tang to America: Preservation, Value, and Cultural Heritage
Han Li
In 1997 the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) purchased Yin Yu Tang (Hall of Plentiful
Shelter), a historic Huizhou residence in the town of Huang Cun in China’s east-central
Anhui Province. It then dismantled the structure, shipped it to the United States, and
rebuilt it on the grounds of the museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The transplantation of
Yin Yu Tang provides a unique vantage point from which to reconsider the appropriation of
Chinese architectural heritage by institutions in the U.S. This article examines a series of
issues related to the relocation and exhibition of Yin Yu Tang in a new geocultural context.
It also looks into changes in Huang Cun in the aftermath of the Yin Yu Tang project to
understand the challenges of heritage preservation in the Huizhou area.

Architecture of the Adelaide Mosque: Hybridity, Resilience, and Assimilation
M. Mizanur Rashid and Katharine Bartsch
This report describes a little-known and inadequately documented facet of the Islamic diaspora in Australia: its architectural legacy. Mosques were first built in Australia by Muslim camel drivers brought there in the nineteenth century to assist in exploring and developing its vast outback. The little work that has been done on this population so far has mostly focused on socio-cultural and anthropological issues. However, by exploring the origins and early use of the Adelaide mosque, we argue that a more comprehensive study is needed of the other small mosques that were once scattered around the outback. With their diverse, hybrid forms, these structures provide the only tangible evidence of the material culture of this early immigrant group. They call attention both to its resilience and drive to assimilate and to the need for a new theoretical framework for understanding Islamic architecture.

Book Reviews
Cine-scapes: Cinematic Spaces in Architecture and Cities, by Richard Koeck
Reviewed by Nathaniel Walker

The Peranakan Chinese Home: Art and Culture in Daily Life, by Ronald G. Knapp
Reviewed by Mui Ho

Cities for People, Not for Profit: Critical Urban Theory and the Right to the City, edited by Neil Brenner, Peter Marcuse, and Margit Mayer
Reviewed by Alex Schafran

House, but No Garden: Apartment Living in Bombay’s Suburbs, 1898–1964, by Nikhil Rao
Reviewed by Vandana Baweja

Peripheries, edited by Ruth Morrow and Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem
Reviewed by Khaled Adham

Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era, by Pamela Karimi
Reviewed by Talin Grigor

Little White Houses: How the Postwar Home Constructed Race in America, by Dianne Harris
Reviewed by John Harwood

The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia: Architecture and Court Culture in Umayyad Córdoba, by Glaire D. Anderson
Reviewed by Antonio Almagro

 

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