Past Event

Collins/Kaufmann Forum: Fabiola López-Durán, “A Clinical Landscape: Crafting the Healthy (Re)Productive Body in Modern Argentina”

April 26, 2022
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Live Webinar / Schermerhorn 807

Examining developments in medicine, society, and landscape architecture, this paper interrogates modern architecture’s clinical agenda in early twentieth-century Argentina. I show how two typically separated movements—hygienics and eugenics—were in fact connected, revealing a biopolitical coupling of the city and the countryside; human and animal bodies; and land and resources. The talk exposes a preoccupation with health, hygiene, fresh air, cleanliness, sunlight, productivity and “whiteness” in the writings and practices of technocrats, physicians, industrialists and architects alike, which has been surprisingly ignored in studies of (landscape) architectural modernism. Focusing on the networks of parks, gardens, playgrounds, open-air schools, and sport facilities in meatpacking districts, this paper sheds light on a unified ideology of medicalization, aestheticization, urbanization and productivity underlying eugenics and its complicity with modern (landscape) architecture. 

Fabiola López-Durán is Associate Professor of Art and Architectural History at Rice University Department of Art History. Originally trained as an architect, López-Durán earned her Ph.D. in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture from MIT. Adopting a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, López-Durán's research and teaching interrogates the cross-pollination of ideas and mediums—science, politics and aesthetics—that ignited the process of modernization on both sides of the Atlantic, with an emphasis on Latin America. Her broad research agenda focuses on non-western modernisms and the complicities between capitalism, racism, and the construction of the built environment. López-Durán's book, Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity, investigates a particular strain of eugenics that, at the turn of the twentieth century, moved from the realms of medicine and law to design, architecture, and urban planning—becoming a critical instrument in the crafting of modernity. This book received a SAH/Mellon Author Award in 2018; and was the winner of the Robert Motherwell Book Prize in 2019.

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