Aesthetic Seminar. The Tectonics of the Soul: Architecture, Animism, and Tree Worship
Spyros Papapetros. Associate Professor of history and theory in the School of Architecture and a member of the executive committee of the program in European Cultural Studies and the program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University
Info about event
Following the emergence of novel theories of tectonics, mid-19th-century architectural discourses were informed by a resurgence of interest in animism. These animist descriptions were a veritable amalgam of earlier philosophical theories of the soul from Aristotle to the early modern medical philosopher Georg-Ernest Stahl and ethnographic accounts of the religious beliefs of non-Western cultures granting agency in natural or manmade objects, including trees, buildings, implements, and bodily adornments. The epistemological impact of animism was implicitly catholic, expanding from imaginative theories of tectonics, such as the study of ancient Greek “tree worship” by the preeminent theorist of tectonics Karl Boetticher to the emerging discipline of architectural history, including the first monographic descriptions of non-Western monuments, such as the study or “tree and serpent worship” retraced on the facades of two Indian monuments by “world” architectural historian James Fergusson.
The lecture is open to the public.
Speaker: Spyros Papapetros