MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 3

Forays in Spacing: Nature, Technics, Trace

Guest speaker: Georgios Tsagdis

Friday 23 February | 4:00pm | HCT Room

Half a century after the three-fold announcement of the logic of the trace in Derrida’s Of Grammatology, Voice and Phenomenon and Writing and Difference the constructive potential of deconstruction continues to grow. Authors as diverse as Bernard Stiegler and Judith Bulter continue to explore the logic of the trace (supplementarity, pharmacology, spectrality and so on) in socio-political, aesthetic, technological and architectural spaces. The reach of this spectrum is granted by the originary articulation of the trace: from its inception writing, which is nothing but the tracing of the trace, is constituted precisely as spacing: the becoming-space of time and the becoming-time of space.

In this seminar we will explore the structure, function and effects of spacing in the interrelation of nature and technics, termed here technophysics. Thinking through Heidegger, Derrida and Stiegler, we will depart from historical theoretical constructions of space to explore trace-topologies as well as the effects produced by different articulations of the relation of the who (subject, Dasein, human) and the how (nature, technics). In this exploration, all tropes of technē, from industrial production to literature assume a direct relevance to the future of the technological apparatus as the latter is traced back to the heart of nature. We finally examine the implications of the technophysical always already for places of dwelling, travelling and production, at a moment when an unprecedented transformation announces itself.A discussion of false or contradictory arguments among proponents of the Modern Movement and their critics


Tsagdis, Georgios, Dispositions: the Technophysical Apparatus, in: Azimuth, Issue 10, 2017 (forthcoming)

Ross, Daniel, A Summary of Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus

Tsagdis, Georgios, The Manual: Heidegger and Fundamental Oto-cheiro-logy I

Georgios Tsagdis is Fellow at the Westminster Law & Theory Lab. He has taught at the University of Greenwich, Surrey, UCL as well at the London School of Philosophy and other institutions. His work operates across theoretical and disciplinary intersections drawing on 20th Century, Contemporary and Ancient Greek Philosophy. His Archeology of Nothing is revised for publication, while his current project examines the function of the negative in the ontology of matter from Plato to New Materialisms. In other recent research, he explores various themes in the historic encounters of philosophy and nature, from the figure of the animal in the Platonic corpus to post-humanism and parasitism. He has written on the question of love with reference to theological, political and feminist discourses. His essays have been published in various book collections and international journals, among which Parallax and Philosophy Today. Since 2014 he has been organizing the Seminar of Neoplatonic Studies, a London intercollegiate study and research group, hosted at the Warburg Institute.


MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 2

Arguments in bad faith; is truth dead?

Guest speaker: Tim Benton

Friday 16 February | 11:00am | 33 FFB

A discussion of false or contradictory arguments among proponents of the Modern Movement and their critics


Perelman, Chaïm. The Realm of Rhetoric.  Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982.

Benton, Tim. The Rhetoric of Modernism : Le Corbusier as a Lecturer.  Boston, MA: Birkhaeuser, 2009

Benton, Tim. “E-1027 and the Drôle De Guerre.” AA files 74 (June 2017): 123-54

Colomina, Beatriz. “Battle Lines: E.1027.” In The Architect : Reconstructing Her Practice., edited by Francesca. Hughes, 3-24. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996

Birksted, Jan. Le Corbusier and the Occult.  Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009

Tim Benton is Professor of Art History (Emeritus) at the Open University, England and has served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York (2007) and at the Bard Graduate Center (2003). He is a noted scholar of the works of Le Corbusier but has also worked on Italian architecture in the 1930s and on Art Deco. He was elected to the Conseil d’Administration of the Fondation Le Corbusier from 2008 to 2015. Professor Benton has co-curated several major exhibitions including Art and Power (Hayward Gallery,1995), Art Deco 1910-1939 (V&A, 2003), Modernism Designing a New World 1918-1939 (V&A, 2006) Modern Taste Art Deco in Paris 1910-1935 (Madrid, 2015) Recent publications include The Rhetoric of Modernism; Le Corbusier as lecturer, (Basel, 2009) Lc Foto : Le Corbusier : Secret Photographer (Zürich, 2013). More recently, he has been working with the Association Cap Moderne on the restoration of the villa E-1027, Le Corbusier’s cabanon and the Étoile de mer and Unités de camping at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, publishing a book Le Corbusier peintre à Cap Martin (Paris 2015), which was awarded the Prix du Livre de la Méditérrannée.

The image selected is the copyright of Eileen Gray Archives


MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 1

Ex Libris: Novel Architecture

Guest speaker: Mark Morris

Friday 2 February | 11:30am | HCT Room

This talk examines the ways in which architecture is treated in fiction, specifically its role in the novel where descriptions of the built environment exceed the function of providing a setting. We will look at a range of literary genres, from the Gothic to Romance to Crime to Sci-Fi. How architecture features in a plot, is used as a foreshadowing element or surrogate character will be reviewed. A key consideration will be language’s permissiveness and expansiveness in regard to architecture, the ability one has to economically speculate on architecture through text. We will conclude by turning our attention to the figure of the architect in select titles.


Mark Morris is Head of Teaching at the AA and an HTS lecturer. He completed his MArch at Ohio State University where he received the AIA Henry Adams medal, and took his PhD at the London Consortium supported by the RIBA Research Trust. His research focuses on questions of visual representation in the context of the history of architectural education, architecture in fiction, and the preservation of scale models. Mark previously taught architectural theory and design at Cornell University where he served as Director of Graduate Studies and Director of Exhibitions. He is the author of two books: Models: Architecture and the Miniature and Automatic Architecture.

The image used has been selected from the article titled ‘Pemberley, Manderley and Howards End: the real buildings behind fictional houses’ published on 29 July 2017 in The Guardian (link:


What is PhD by Design? Symposium

Date: Jan 26, 2018
Place: 36 Bedford Square, Lecture Hall.

In a variety of fields, doctoral research conventionally culminates in the format of a text-based dissertation. Within the architectural discourse, a variety of institutions have started to acknowledge the relevance of integrating non-written components into doctoral dissertations in architectural design. A new kind of doctoral program is being developed, often coined as ‘PhD by Design’, engaging with design discourse as both contribution as well as technique. Within the Architectural Association, doctoral students can pursue their research either through ‘the traditional route of the written dissertation or combine writing with design research for the studio-based PhD in architectural design’ (AA Prospectus). However, there is presently a lack of consensus within the Architectural Association regarding what a ‘PhD by Design’ means. The convoluted understanding of the non-written component necessitates an open conversation between doctoral supervisors and students. How can one find common ground in comparing different approaches to a ‘PhD by Design’?

Developing their individual research proposals according to their individual notion of what a PhD by Design entails, the invited speakers will respond to the following brief: ‘An ever-widening range of political, economic, or ecological causes for displacement have forced humankind to rethink the notion of social integration and permanence in the built environment. In any way imaginable, the research proposal shall frame and deal with the problematic and relevance of the relation between the built environment and different the protagonists of displacement; commuters, expats, migrants and refugees.’

The Symposium will feature doctoral supervisors Paula Cadima, Mark Cousins, Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, Marina Lathouri, Michael Weinstock, and Simos Yannas. In response to a given topic, doctoral supervisors are asked to present individual research proposals comprising written and non-written components.Thus, the event format serves as a comparative overview of different approaches to the notion of PhD by Design.

Date: Jan 26, 2018
Place: 36 Bedford Square, Lecture Hall