EVENT Oct 17
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Finding Bauhaus in the Library: Utopia and the Democratization of Knowledge (Society for Utopian Studies)

East Lansing, MI
Event: Society for Utopian Studies
Categories: Digital Humanities, Pedagogy, 20th & 21st Century, Anthropology/Sociology, Cultural Studies, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2019-10-17 to 2019-10-19 Abstract Due: 2019-08-01

We are seeking papers for a panel or series of panels at the annual conference of the Society for Utopian Studies October 17-19, 2019 in East Lansing, MI.

“The Bauhaus is more than a school, it is an idea”, stated its last director Mies von der Rohe. The Bauhaus envisioned design as having the power to transform society; its leaders sought to create a strong sense of community and shared purpose. A driving agenda for the Bauhaus was that experimental design education would produce creative citizens empowered to find their way in a changing society and to work together for the benefit of humanity, at a time of mass industrialization and political crisis. Public libraries, it can be argued, are uniquely committed to fostering an equitable society by serving a broad public, and empowering individuals to educate themselves; today, makerspaces and maker-in-residence programs enhance the learning opportunities that libraries provide.

One hundred years after the Bauhaus—as many curators and historians have observed—we are faced with multiple challenges to democracy in a globalized information age. How are public libraries helping to meet those challenges, and how are design principles (particularly of the Bauhaus) being used to create spaces that are suited to this work?

We are particularly interested in papers that consider the changing role of the public library in creating utopian spaces of education and engagement; how the physical organization of space in a library contributes to the utopian goals of the institution; how the theories of modernist architecture generally (and the Bauhaus specifically) complement the democratization of information and knowledge aspired to in the public library; and how contemporary redesigns of public libraries offer critiques of what has come before.

Submit abstracts of 300 words to easbyers@gmail.com.


Elizabeth Schreiber-Byers