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Department of Cultural Studies
American Studies

From Tepee to Skyscraper: American Architecture in the Cultural and Philosophical Discourse

Course Information

Nr. Name Type Time Room Lecturer
154647 From Tepee to Skyscraper: American Architecture in the Cultural and Philosophical Discourse 2 PS Th 14:15 - 15:45 R. 0.406 Berendt-Metzner

Vitruvius (Roman architect who lived in the first century BC) says about the architect: “Let him beeducated, skillful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, know much history, have followed the philosophers with attention, understand music, have some knowledge of medicine, know the opinions of the jurists, and be acquainted with astronomy and the theory of the heavens”.
While this quote demonstrates the architect as a person of many faculties, philosopher Diogenes did not need much in terms of architecture, his dwelling, supposedly, was a barrel. Others followed such simplicity; Henry David Thoreau’s cabin in the woods in Walden serves as a perfect example. But what about the skyscrapers, the steel and glass constructions of the modernists or the large Prairie Houses of Frank Lloyd Wright? In this seminar, we will explore American architects and their work, mainly from the 20th century, alongside a variety of texts from culture scientists and philosophers who look at the built environment from their very own perspective. Excerpts from Walden, essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and texts by Frank Lloyd Wright about his Utopian vision of the cities of the United States will serve as a starting point, to be followed by texts by, for example, Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco and Martin Heidegger, to name just a few.

This course is particularly recommended for students of the Angewandte Studiengänge.

The willingness to read a variety of texts throughout the semester. 



2009 602 503 503  
2016   503 503  

Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften &
Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften:

PO ab WS 16/17: Kern: 1c, 2abc, 3ac, 4a, 8a
Komp: 1c, 2cd, 4b
Komp: 2a    
PO ab WS 21/22: Kern: 1c, 2abc, 3ac, 4a, 8a
Komp: 1b, 2cd, 4b
Komp: 2a