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TRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW

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Volume 12.2

TRADITIONS OF THE MODERN: A CORRUPT VIEW
Ananya Roy
At this fin-de-siècle, the “post” that was meant to mark off the modern, or perhaps to qualify it, has turned out to be a looking-glass of sorts, reviving engagements with the question of modernity.  However, lurking in the shadows of this discourse is the “constitutive outside” that makes possible such narratives: tradition.  In this article, I explore the question of modernity through the trope of tradition.  I focus on three guises of the modern.  The first is a rigidly dualistic narrative that has long marked off the traditional from the modern.  Taking hold during the last fin-de-siècle, this is an unshakably teleological and Eurocentric modern that has woven its way through quite a bit of the social and political theory of the twentieth century.  Second, I investigate the possibility of multiple modernities.  I mean this not simply in terms of a globalized modern, diverse in its localizations, but as a modernity that is inherently and inevitably tainted.  Third, consideration of such corruptions leads to a brief discussion of epistemological and ontological challenges.  Drawing upon contemporary critical theory, I offer the “post” not as the end of intellectual traditions, but as a surplus present within the modern itself.  It is my hope that this view of, and from, a corrupt modern will open up new allegories — beyond those of deaths and endings.

HOME COOKING, NOSTALGIA AND THE PURCHASE OF TRADITION
Jean Duruz
This article teases out meanings of “home” in everyday practices against a backdrop of anxiety in Western postmodern/postindustrial imaginaries at the beginning of a new century.  Exploring reinventions of tradition, it draws on Australian women’s stories of establishing small businesses involved in the production of “homely” food and spaces.  It concludes that cultural critics should go beyond simply questioning late capitalism’s flexible purchase of tradition to meet its own ends.  In particular, more attention should be paid to the potential contribution of “microinventions” to the design of convivial cities and dwellings, without denying their political complexities.

THE ONTARIO COTTAGE: THE GLOBALIZATION OF A BRITISH FORM IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Lynne D. Distefano
This article explores the spread of the diminutive, symmetrical, hip-roof cottage throughout part of the British Empire in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  It documents and suggests the possible sources for this house form within a specific context (Ontario, Canada), and offers reflections on the issues of globalization and localization as they apply to this particular Ontario form.

HOUSE HUNTING, OR I’VE NEVER “LIVED” IN MY HOUSE
André Casault
Less than fifty years ago, the Innu of Unamen Shipu, a Northern Quebec native community, were still a nomadic tribe, hunting, fishing, and gathering food across the vast reaches of northeastern Canada.  Since 1954, the year in which the government of Canada officially created an autochthon reserve at Unamen Shipu, the Innu have largely moved into permanent houses.  This article begins by examining the relationship between the Innu and their reserve dwellings.  It then presents an exploratory design exercise, the goal of which was to develop sustainable housing prototypes adapted to the Innu’s present way of life.  The exercise raised several interesting questions as to the persistence of tradition and the importance of place and territory in the design of dwellings.

MULTIPLE COURTYARD MANSIONS OF DHAKA: FORM AND CONTEXT
Mahbubur Rahman and Ferdouse Ara Haque
A number of splendid mansions were built in Dhaka in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  A hybrid of cultural patterns, they borrowed monumental formal elements from contemporary and classical European styles at the same time they employed indigenous spatial arrangements.  In particular, as in traditional Bengali houses, their interior areas were laid out around courtyards, which played many roles and allowed the mansions to maintain an internal human scale.  Today, such dichotomous houses remain the socio-cultural testament to the peculiar circumstances of the native social elite of the period.  This article analyzes the form and spatial arrangement of the multicourt mansions, and attempts to link them to their socio-cultural context.