GE: Modernity on Display

Modernity on Display: Architecture, Technology, and World Expositions. This seminar will examine how architecture reveals different socio-political conceptions of modernity and reflects contemporaneous attitudes to technology and "progress" in a range of cultural contexts. No better vehicle exists for understanding how a country envisions its future than the self-representation of nations at world's fairs. Technological innovation, consumer culture, propaganda, mass media, and "traditional" and futuristic architecture all comingle in competing displays. By comparing some of the most notable world's fairs of the last century, including Paris 1937, New York 1939, and Tokyo 1940 - as well as infamous fairs planned but not realized, such as Mussolini's EUR-Rome 1942, and Hitler's Berlin-Germania 1950 - we will explore how concepts of modernism and reactionary modernism - as well as neotechnics, technological positivism, and technocracies as the engines of social reform - can inform our current "post-national" global culture.