HOMInG’s Paolo Boccagni will participate in the Annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians (14-18 April), in a session on Diasporic Architectural Histories convened by Mirjana Lozanosvka and Anoma Pieris. Paolo will give a presentation on Migrant remittance architecture and cultural circulation: a framework for comparative analysis. See the programme of the session below.

Diasporic Architectural Histories

Session Chairs:

Mirjana Lozanovska (Deakin University) and Anoma Pieris (University of Melbourne)

Diasporic Architectural Histories

Architectural historiography is challenged by the architecture of migrant communities and migrant individuals. Framing this architecture as nostalgic for the homeland or as aspirational status symbol dehistoricizes the discourse, embedding it in a mythic past and an illusionary future. Equally as often this architecture is not perceived as different to the architecture of its context or its difference is diminished as ornamental aesthetic. Positioning diasporic architecture within ‘sameness’ or ‘similitude’ has resulted in limited examinations. Migration scholars criticise the use of migration and the migrant figure as narrative trope, arguing that a conflation between migration and mobility displaces the historical determination of unprivileged migration. The use of mobility and transnationalism as tropes in twenty-first century architectural historiography can unwittingly erase migration histories.

Pioneering scholars in this field point to the multiple situatedness of migrant architectural production – destination sites, homeland hinterlands, dotted along migration trajectories – as well as processes of procurement and construction. Migration studies complicate the boundaries of agency, normativity, and performativity/desire of the human subject. For example, what does late nineteenth century architectural history look like from the perspective of trans-cultural labour migrations of the first industrial revolution? This session draws on a current momentum of scholarship at the interface of migration/architecture and aims to explore architectural historiographies of the diasporic conditions.


Peter Scriver and Katharine Bartsch, Diasporic receptors: The Adelaide and Woking Mosques, University of Adelaide, Australia

Luce Beeckmans, Mobile urbanism from below: Afro-Christian churches as place-makers and scaler-makers in European midsized cities, Ghent University, Netherlands

Paolo Boccagni, Migrant remittance architecture and cultural circulation: a framework for comparative analysis, University of Trento, Italy

Jennifer Mack, Children of the New World: Migration, Welfare, and Children’s Spaces in Sweden, 1970 to 1995, School of Architecture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

David Beynon, To Boldly Stay: Refugees, Enterprise, Industry and Spatial Inscription, University of Tasmania, Australia