Research Methods in the History and Theory of Architecture

Doctoral Seminar (064-0014-20)
Organizer: Doctoral Program
Lecturers: Dr. Irina Davidovici
Time: FS20, Thursday, 10.00-12.00
Location: HIL E 29.2

Updated: Programme 

Exercises - Handout 

Course description
The seminars aim to prepare the doctoral students for their Research Plan submission at the end of their first year, offering a forum for exchanges, presentations and peer reviews of research strategies. The format allows for weekly group discussions on a variety of topics. Students are encouraged to consider the course readings not only in terms of their content, but also as illustrations of formatting, structuring and argumentation methods, and thus research models. There are four types of seminar classes. Toolkit classes focus on the individual components of the Research Plan: abstract, hypothesis, literature survey, research structure etc. Method classes cover research strategies and disciplinary traditions relevant for doctoral studies in the history and theory of architecture. Theory seminars focus on specific intellectual traditions and their comparison. The Review sessions, leading up to the end-of-semester doctoral crits, comprise work-in-progress presentations and peer-review appraisals in formal and informal settings.

Aims and Objectives
The course will train skills of critical analysis and interpretation – of architecture and scholarship in equal measure, connecting buildings and architectural representations to theoretical productions. The study texts illustrate foundational models for architectural research and related disciplines in the humanities, including history, sociology, critical theory and material culture studies. The seminars are specifically aimed at the preparation of research plans, honing analytical and interpretative skills.

The weekly classes are scheduled in the attached programme. Please note: From March 26th, all seminars take place on Zoom / Skype. No classes on March 19 (Seminar Week), April 16 (Easter Break), and May 21 (Ascension). The class on 30 April will take place as Research Plan Review.

Related events
From March 19th, all public events take place on Zoom / Skype. Please look out for individual announcements.


Toolkit: Introduction and course overview (February 20, 202 )
  • From itch to book: Notes on the doctoral project
  • Your Research Plan: Questions, hypotheses, literature review

Method: Historical research and strategies (February 27, 2020)

Theory: Subaltern Studies (in connection with Parity Talks V) (March 5, 2020)

Method: Explanation and interpretation in qualitative research (March 12, 2020)

Toolkit: Research Design (March 26, 2020)

Toolkit: Research Design (April 2, 2020)

Method: Architecture as Material Culture (April 9, 2020)

Method: From reading plans to socio-spatial theory (April 23, 2020)